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Hoquiam Police in Camo (courtesy member of our Armed Intelligentsia sent a link to‘s report of a stand-off in Washington (Hoquiam Officer Shot. Suspect Barricaded in Home). As the eagle-eyed TTAG reader pointed out, it’s a little unsettling that a town of just under 9,000 has camo-clad cops. Isn’t it?

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  1. I would define it less as unsettling, more as stupid/pointless.

    They’re gonna wear fatigues of some kind, and when asked if they wanted black or camo or… whatever, they said camo. Dumb maybe, but not menacing.

    • Matt – I have to respectfully disagree. Heavily armed cops in Black or Blue fatigues says “SWAT”. We may not be comfortable with this, but at least it is familiar. Guys in cammo says “military” and is a scene we see over and over again in countries run by oppressive governments. This sort of thing makes everyone a lit more nervous. Plus, let’s face it, what the hell do the cops need cammo for anyway? Last I checked, the term, “jungle” when referring to the mean streets of NYC, Chicago, etc. was figure of speech, not a literal jungle with real trees and such that cammo would be useful for.

      • “Plus, let’s face it, what the hell do the cops need cammo for anyway? ”

        Hoqiuam is on the Washington coast. It’s nothing like NYC or Chicago. There really isn’t that much out there beyond a few small towns surrounded by temperate rainforests. That’s why they use camo.

        • It doesn’t really matter, since there’s not really much good reason for officers of the law to be unseen. They *should* stand out and be easily identifiable.

  2. I think that the more cops play soldier, the more they see their role that way, and the population as the enemy.

    Also, with rare exceptions, cops are supposed to be visible. It’s kinda the point.

    • so it’s “playing soldier” to use clothing and weapons appropriate for the level of threat you’re facing? a barricaded violent suspect is not a speeding stop. not the time to wear polished sam browne belts and .38 revolvers either.

      besides I doubt the town or the county has a full time “on call” SWAT team, it’s probably a detail that deputies do in addition to regular patrol, they probably had patrol officers watch the house, while the swat members changed into their gear and got their rifles. this is for specific incidents, officers are not doing regular patrol duties in multicam and helmets

      • Last time I checked you didn’t have to wear camo (of any variety) in order to strap on soft armor and a plate carrier/tac vest. Your argument is invalid.

        • Why are you afraid of camo? What caused this irrational fear of inanimate objects? Your argument doesn’t even state a conclusion, by logic your argument is invalid.

          The civilian sector has imitated the military for centuries, in fact ever since society has formed. Military gear is practical, it has a lot of pockets, accommodates vests easier and prevents injury. The cammo is the most abundant form of this clothing… Plus it looks cool. Just like most gun owners own multiple sets of cammo and probably buy guns for their military appearance. If I built an AR platform rifle with a conventional stock, magazine flush with the stock, no barrel shroud and regular iron sights and it next to an AR that resembles the M16 and had the same price which will you buy? Yeah thought so

        • I’m not afraid of camo. I’m concerned about the militarization of our police forces, effectively resulting in the creation of a domestic standing army. Camo is merely the most visible symptom.

          I know for a fact that they make all of the same gear in solid colors as well as mil-spec camo. There is absolutely no justification for a police officer looking like a soldier or Marine gearing up to assault Fallujah, even when they’re serving a high-risk warrant.

        • AlphaGeek, You lose on this one. This is all about the task at hand. This is about keeping the Police Officers as safe as they can while dealing with the situation at hand. Should they just have called in the Marines to deal with this in order to avoid camouflage? Stop being “anti-cop” when it comes to this position you are taking. It seems as if you are on the side of the person that actually took a shot at the Police. Not all Cops are bad. Most are in agreement with being pro-gun and pro-2nd amendment!

        • Multicam is a branded camo. From most places, multicam gear is more expensive than blue / black / OD green.

          I still haven’t heard of a reasonable scenario where cops in performance of their duty, need to have field camo.

        • whenever you see this crap it’s because some shot-caller decided to put his officers in camo. admin always has great ideas, right? it’s not like police are thrilled by all of the gear they’re issued, but if it’s department policy they’re stuck with it. I don’t think camo makes them look any more militarized than black or blue, it just looks stupid.

        • Any tactical gear you can buy in cammo, you can buy in black (and sometimes) blue. Cops don’t need to wear cammo. Black or blue uniforms have been in use with SWAT since its founding in L.A.

          You start having guys in cammo running around American streets and this place starts to look like your favorite totalitarian dictatorship.

        • When it’s the wrong camo for the environment, such as, say, jungle or forest camo in a town or city, it’s tacticool, not a uniform.

  3. I find it less inserting for small town cops to be wearing camp than urban cops. Had they rolled up in an APC I’d share your sentiment a bit more.

    • +1

      Having grown up in rural Western Washington, the idea that the local SWAT team has camo to blend in with their surroundings isn’t any different than the NYC SWAT team wearing urban camo or black/blue/gray.

  4. Hmm the article says the suspects just came up there from Sacramento. Proving once again that guns flow from high gun control areas to lower. Err… wait isn’t that how the story goes?

    • The camo is just a symbol of the police militarization trend. Its not the clothes so much as the MRAPs, .50 cal semi auto sniper rifles, military training, etc. When cops dress, train and equip themselves like the military, and the LEO ranks are filled with more and more ex-military, they tend to stop regarding themselves as the “civilians” that they are. They also start taking on the military’s bad habits (that the mil has been trying to break) like emphasizing force protection over mission accomplishment. The long term trend is that we have a police force that is more interested in apprehending criminals than in preventing crime, an approach which ironically creates more criminals over the long run.

    • Elle: a question for you-you claim the swat is state, you get this info from where? the Jump Truck is emblazoned with the town name.

  5. If the camo worked we wouldn’t be able to see them. Guess some cops just want to be tacticool! If it makes them happy, considering the carp they have to put up with, more camo to them.

  6. The should stick them in the Army ACU pattern. That way they can been seen in all terrain and shine like a light at night.

  7. if u want to know the truth it was a very bright day and they where on roofs most of the time, so he really couldn’t see there light colored uniforms from his second story house as u could on the ground….just saying, iv been standing 60 yards away for 15 hours, and elle is right they are SWAT not hoquiam pd. and further more quit talking trash about the men who risk there lives to keep my family and friends safe yo!

    • I’ll quit talking trash when you stop using “u.” Even if you’re typing with your thumbs, you didn’t bother to abbreviate anything else into “textspeak,” and besides, most phones auto-capitalize anyway, so you have to try to be the internet e. e. cummings.

      • …yo!

        BTW, Just notice your avatar. That was my desktop background for like six months after it appeared on here lol.

  8. I don’t think it is necessarily “anti-cop” to be concerned about The Militarizing of Local Police. The fellows at Forbes Magazine are not against police.

    However, there are indeed a series of “Libertarian” narratives that make many “Libertarian” types (including anarchists, minarchist, voluntaryists, ZAPs, NAPs, etc.) rather “anti-cop.”

    Some of these “anti-cop” myths (and a brief debunk) are addressed, as follows:

    Police are a recent invention. Sorry guys, “The Voluntary City” meme is wrong historically. Police have existed as long as civilization (the City-State) has. See /wiki/Police#Ancient_world

    Government is Evil. As anthropologists have well documented, government—hate it or love it—is a direct consequence of agriculture, circa 10,000 years ago. “Agriculture creates government.”~Richard Manning (2005) Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization, p. 73 There has never been an Agricultural Civilization without government. State-level politics is a primary characteristic, i.e., in every single observed example, of civilization. The only anarchist faction that holds a scientific-evidence-based, non-contradictory view of “government is evil” are the anarcho-primitivists, who would like to see government/agriculture/City-States/civilization/industry all completely disappear tomorrow. Oh sure, it would be barrels of fun to trash the iPods and don a buckskin loincloth, but it’s about as likely that rainbow ponies will start crapping out Skittles to hunt and gather this weekend. On the other hand, the glorious Techno-Salvationist Libertarian fantasies are even less likely than primitivist rainbow ponies. William R. Catton Jr., in his book “Overshoot” (University of Illinois Press, 1980) knocks down these Libertarian Techno-Salvationist dreams in his section on Space Age Cargo Cults, pages 187 to 195.

    Privatize police with monetary magic! For worshiping money and viewing society only through the lens of economics, it’s amazing how little Libertarians know about how money actually works in human society. Pick up “Debt: The First 5,000 Years” (Melville House, 2012) by David Graeber. He does a nice job of deconstructing Libertarian folk legends about money. And as Kirkpatrick Sale points out in his “After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination” (Duke University Press, 2006) where he jabs directly at Ayn Rand, the first example of long-distance “free trade” was the “free market” in human slavery. Lest you’re troubled by the term “free market slavery,” even Libertarian economists, notably Walter Block of the “anarcho-capitalist” Mises Institute, advocate for sexually abusing (with “whips”!!!) their fully-owned “voluntary slaves.” Human society is more than tricky-dick fine-print contracts and the Almighty God Money, guys.

    This isn’t to say Libertarians don’t have many good ideas. I’m all for more localized and smaller government, local funding (instead of federal), like many Libertarians advocate. I’m sure we can find much to agree upon, including being vigilant about too much sociopolitical power being concentrated into police/government.

    But like former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts [] recently (Feb 14, 2013) wrote, and Libertarians are blind to, “The right is correct that government power is the problem, and the left is correct that private power is the problem.”

    That problem precludes any simplistic Left/Right/Libertarian solutions. And perhaps there is no solution at all. Anthropologist Marvin Harris writes in his text Cannibals and Kings: Origins of Cultures about agricultural civilizations getting caught in a “trap.” Sometimes completely “solving” problems is a fantasy, there is only mitigating the worst effects of being trapped. Well, that takes everybody respecting each other and working together. Should happen tomorrow, right? LOL! 😉

    In summary: Even if there are chronic problems with policing, our civilization absolutely requires cops to operate. It’s an ever-dynamic juggling act to make things work for the best.

    • Why dont you go write an article and put it somewhere else. This is a gun site and you go off on some libertarian anti-police rant talking about magic money and crap. Nice cut and paste.

      • Somehow, I don’t think you read his comment. That, or you didn’t understand a word of it.

      • I am pretty sure the rant was anti-libertarian, not anti-cop. I did ok on the reading comprehension portion of the SATs.

        • Anti libertarian, pro cop, and the “magic money” jab was aimed at libertarians.

          Reading is Fundamental!

      • Ron, mine is definitely not an “anti-police” rant; I get weary of them myself.

        Rather the opposite of your hasty assessment, I’m speaking against “anti-police” libertarian notions that I’ve observed.

    • Good work Brian. Ain’t synthesizing history grand?

      Libertarians often fall into the same trap as progressives do in thinking that a “utopia” will ever exist here on Earth. Most Libertarians I know aren’t anarchists and do believe in Government Lite in order to keep all the wheels greased. In order to have a strong economy, we must have a degree of security to protect our capital and our investments, and to punish any “cheaters.” Not everything is effective when privatized, and I would certainly not want to see a world where military and police are simply the strong arms of the wealthy. Anarchy would reduce us to Locke’s state of nature, a kill or be killed kind of world. Trust me, not as cool as it sounds. A state of anarchy can never persist for long anyways, as individuals soon learn that it is more advantageous to team with other individuals to ensure mutual security and prosperity, and voila, you have the makings of new government.

      The only culture that can really persist without a police presence is an honor-based society. Though the Germanic tribes of northern Europe were considered barbaric by the Romans, there was also a romantic admiration of these barbarians for being “noble savages,” living largely free of vice and treachery in comparison to the Romans. And, going along with your statement, these honor bound tribes did not have an extensive agricultural system and were still “primitive” in terms of societal structure.

      The USA, unfortunately, couldn’t be further removed from an honor-based society and therefore we will have need for the police.

      This does not, however, indicate a need for the militarization of police. A militarized police force will inevitably lead to domestic conflict.

  9. Meh… To be fair, a police department in a town of 9,000 probably has a very small budget and that DOD Santa Claus program probably gets used a lot (not to mention simply shopping at the local mil surp store).

  10. I think that when the police are responding to an armed standoff they tool up with all the necessary items: Hard Body armor in plate carriers, ballistic helmets etc. Those things are usually sold in one of two colors, Camo or Black.

    So, no, I am not particularly alarmed that when the police show up to an armed confrontation, they arrive wearing armor and looking scary. If I had to show up to a gunfight, I would do the same.

    If they were patrolling day-in, day-out looking like that I would find that cause for worry.

  11. Part of Colin Powell’s doctrine for war is show up with overwhelming force. I agree, no gunfight should be fair (tough to CCW a 9 mm XD but I’d like to, I’m somewhat small an it’s hard to hide it under a T-shirt).

    So have no problem with this. I DO have a problem with no knock police invasions, drones, reading my e-mail and grabbing my texts and cell phone info.

  12. Old RF at it again…

    I’m sure they would work alot better in blue polyester with shiny gunbelts and slick shoes.

    How about some overalls with a badge pinned to them and a Joe Biden double barrel?

    YEE HAW.

  13. Who cares what pattern their swat team is wearing? I have a few pieces of Multicam, and I’m not militarized.

    These guys are going after a violent criminal that has already shot someone. If that was my job, I’d want to have the best gear at my disposal, and look as intimidating as possible. They are stil LE, and subject to the same regs as officers not fully kitted up. Now if they violate laws, or fabricate evidence, I’ll be the first to call them out. But wearing camo? Who cares.

    I keep hearing how we as gun owners may face the same criminal element as LE, and I agree. We demand to have the same tools to protect ourselves as the police, and I agree. Now does that make us militarized since we have black rifles? Or a multicam chest rig? I’ve seen local 3-gun shooters, and other non-LE shooters taking carbine classes that were all kitted up. I wouldn’t call them militarized. The latter group was learning to efficiently run a rifle to better protect themselves, I would expect a LE SRT/SWAT to be outfitted to best accomplish that task.

    Enough of the cop bashing, especially when they are doing nothing but their jobs. It really makes this site look bad.

    • You’re right about the cop-bashing. I don’t like em, but they really are a necessary part of our society. Most of em are good, but the bad apples on a constant power-trip seem to be growing in number, unfortunately. One of the statements repeated in the comments for this post is that just about all camo is available in both mil spec green and black. So, as peace officers, whose duty is much different from the duty of a soldier, wouldn’t it promote better perception of police in general if they wore black instead of legitimate camo? I’m on board (to a point) with cops having the best tools for the job, whether that be mil spec weapons or protective gear, but to me the camo sends the wrong message. A cop in mil spec camo protective gear looks like part of an invading force, but a cop in black protective gear looks like a cop who’s suited up for an other-than-ordinary situation. Cops in camo appear to be exuding the idea that “we’re here to kick everyone’s ass, yeah even yours” while cops in black would be more along the lines of “we’re gonna get this guy, then resume our regular protect & serve duties”. This is just my personal perception of course, YMMV.

      • “…wouldn’t it promote better perception of police in general if they wore black instead of legitimate camo?”

        Not really, and that’s not the point of wearing it in the first place. Hoquiam is a small town on the coast surrounded by temperate rainforests. Wearing all black when you may be tracking down some meth lab out in the woods probably isn’t the brightest idea. Since I doubt Hoquiam or Grays Harbor County (where it’s located) has the budget to provide multiple sets of SWAT clothing, camo makes way more sense for our (I live about 100 miles east) environment. No different than all black or urban camo in NYC or a Chicago suburb.

        And given this was an armed standoff with someone who was wanted for shooting a cop and who shot at officers trying to arrest him for that initial shooting (causing the standoff), and who had prepared in advanced for this scenario, I would hope the officers would be a bit “militarized” for their own safety.

  14. Still got that hard on for camo eh?

    1 – It’s effing camo. Did they actually do anything wrong?
    2 – Are they actually from that town. A lot of small towns pool SWAT across several towns.
    3 – I’m sure the suspect was harmless (oh wait, he shot a cop), but why the armor (oh wait the fuggin suspect shot a fuggin cop).
    4 – Clearly they should be in Navy blues because them brown colors are too military (oh wait, that shade of blue is named after the fuggin Navy for a reason)
    5 – But camo, that is where they are absolutely out of line. Solid colors only from now on…

    Keep hard and carry on…

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