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Main Street, Herkimer NY (courtesy

Regular readers know I’m a little touchy on the subject of police militarization. As in I’m dead set against it. The proliferation of up-armored LEOs and the increasing use of these AR-wielding civilians for no-knock raids is a deeply worrying development. As for their deployment during “active shooter” situations—as in today’s multiple shooting in Herkimer, NY—why the hell are they wearing green camo? I repeat: the helmeted gun toters above are NOT National Guardsmen. They’re cops. Looking for a shooter. On main street. Shouldn’t they be wearing blue? More to the point, is this what we want policing our streets? [h/t Brandon]

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  1. If and when we ever have a state of Martial Law, Leos will be rolled into the CoC of the armed forces – they might as well be dressed for the occasion.

    • And the anti-gun types will just say “Police have had to resort to this due to consistently being out-gunned by criminals. It is exactly the proliferation of assault weapons on our streets that has caused the police to arm up to this degree. Vote Feinstein. Disarm for the greater good.”

      • They might say that, but it’s a ridiculous assertion. How can anyone argue with a straight face that police who get $500,000,000 a year in military surplus from the Feds, including armored vehicles and light tanks, are outgunned? They also have sub-machine guns, Orwellicopters and soon will get killer “surveillance” drones. A camo’ed out cop is creepy and fascist to the core. What’s next, imperial storm trooper outfits?

  2. I am, of course, a supporter of law enforcement, but I agree that image is very important. These men and women need to be seen as approachable and human. Americans are not, and should not, become accustomed to our police in full military gear.

    • There is a world of difference between modern police and modern soldiers. Even if they are dressed identically (be it dress uniform, or full armor), the difference is best embodied by the fact that across the globe, kids go up to and like our soldiers. Kids USED to like our police.

    • At some point it’s going to be the Military in military gear, this is just more desensitization in progress so that nobody questions it when it happens.

      • No it won’t. Posse comitatus.

        And a lot of the guys taking the orders in the military have more honor and respect for the Constitution then that.

        If we are to be domestically occupied, it will come from LEOs and Federal agencies like DHS, which could explain the purchase of 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.

        • Saying “No it won’t. Posse comitatus.”
          is like saying
          “They’ll never take away our gun rights, Second Amendment.”
          “They’ll never invade our homes/privacy, Fourth Amendment.”

          Or don’t you remember how close Posse Comitatus came to going out the window after 9/11?

    • Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from The Wire

      ” I mean, I can send any fool with a badge and a gun up on them corners and jack a crew and grab vials. But policing? I mean, you call something a war and pretty soon everybody gonna be running around acting like warriors. They gonna be running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, slapping on cuffs, racking up body counts. And when you at war, you need a fucking enemy. And pretty soon, damn near everybody on every corner is your fucking enemy. And soon the neighborhood that you’re supposed to be policing, that’s just occupied territory. ”

      -Maj Colvin

    • Looks a LOT like northern Ireland in the 1970’s to me. Camo clad troops in APC’s patrolling the streets to remind the citizenry that they are powerless to resist.

  3. I’m having a hard time caring what they wear or drive. It is what they do. If I was looking for a shooter that was likely hell bent on shooting cops when they show up I’d want to be wearing as much armor as I could still move in. If it was camo because that was cheap when the dept bought it, I really wouldn’t care.

    As for the no knock raids, well, my position stands that anybody that forces their way into my home is a deadly threat until proven otherwise, and if I can’t verify that the police are who they claim to be, the fact that uniforms can be bought by anybody and anybody can yell police will mean I will ignore such things and assume my life is in danger.

    • The clothing reflects the mindset these days. I think you’re overlooking that.

      If the mythical Officer Friendly dressed up looking like GI Joe and still maintained a personable friendly attitude toward the general public few would care, but they might think he’s a weird Walter Mitty type. But that’s not the case, is it?

      I’m willing to bet these boys fancy themselves street soldiers.

      • I don’t care what their attitude is. They need to serve warrants in full dress uniforms and by knocking on the door and waiting until the homeowner opens it. Period, end of discussion.

      • It isn’t the uniform. A cop in blues with the typical city cop fu<k you face plastered on is 1000x less approachable or human than a US soldier in an interceptor vest and an M4.

        And you are right they probably fancy themselves "street soldiers". Like in the airsoft gamer / call of duty sense. I live in a city that still has small town mentality cops, but other cities in the area have a lot of cops that transferred out of LAPD and brought the attitude with them.

        • At least airsoft games are commonly played where camo like that would help, oh, I don’t know, CAMOFLAGE!

  4. I’d joke about it, but for some reason I don’t find it funny any more.
    Kinda explains why with all the new gun laws being considered regarding “assault rifles”, the cops are always exempt.

    • Hey, now there’s an up side to this. If you live in an area with a semi-automatic rifle ban, just put on surplus digital camouflage fatigues and a helmet and you can walk around with your rifle with impunity.

    • > why with all the new gun laws being considered
      > regarding “assault rifles”, the cops are always exempt.

      And retired cops are exempt, too. Why?

      • Police, and retired police are simply political pawns…..they get exemptions to simply get their support for anti gun laws….that’s how the AWB passed in ’94….

        • @SGC Military are far less likely to follow an illegal order. That makes them a liability.

        • Well that’s because ex-military all have PTSD, of course.

          It really is the militarized police you have to watch out for in a domestic occupation, not the army regulars.

      • Their lives are more valuable and worthy of protection than yours or mine that’s why. Can you say praetorian class?

  5. The shooter there used a shotgun in the shootings think full auto M-4s is a bit over doing it.

    • Why? If your job was to go after a dickweed with a shotgun that was cool with shooting people and for all they knew had soft armor on himself what would you want to be wearing? They aren’t on traffic patrol.

      “You know that one time I was getting shot at, I wish I had less protection, less ammo, and a weaker gun…”
      – Said nobody ever

        • @InBox45 Police are notoriously bad marksmen. Giving them fully automatic rifles makes them more dangerous to everyone down range except the intended target. Do you really believe they invest the money to properly train them firing in anything but semi-auto?

        • No, I think InBox nailed it. If they knew that there was an active shooter with 4 homicides already under his belt, you can bet your ass that the police are going to respond with the best and heaviest equipment that they have.

          No-knock raids, however, are a completely different story, and I disagree with them vehemently.

      • @Buuurr You are wrong. A military mindset in a civilian police response is bad. Police are tasked to apprehend a suspect, not seek and destroy. Killing an active shooter is like a citizen’s DGU situation…a last resort.

      • Let’s assume we’re playing “military on the homefront” and we’re confronted with an “active shooter.” How do we handle it? I think it would go something like this:

        1. Get all the non-combatants out of the area.
        2. Insure he’s not holding any hostages.
        3. Now what we do is lay a couple of AT4’s into his position.

        The other thing we can do is reduce his position to rubble. Call indirect fire down on his ass. I’d start small – 81mm mortar. But hey, if we really want people to “respect my auhtoratah,” we’ll pull up some 155 tube arty on the far side of town and really show that active shooter who is boss.

        And if that doesn’t seem impressive enough, then we’ll call in a fast mover with a 2,000 pound JDAM.

        Is that what you want happening in your town? Because that’s the military mindset. The military mindset is to kill people and break things. Military forces should not be engaged in “due process.” They’re not supposed to worry about arresting people. They’re not worried about property values. Their job is to kill people and break stuff.

        • Nah, let’s not go off the deep end here. Let’s stay in the realm of reason, shall we?

          I agree with the military motive because the majority of these shooters are looking to go out by taking as many as they can with them. I say fire away and have at them. Sending in a dog to assess his intentions was a great idea. He had intentions of killing officers. He shot an officer dead (dog). Then other officers went in with intent to shoot to kill. So they are kitted out in armor and weapons that ensure they get to go home to their family, big deal.

  6. That doesn’t even look like any urban camo I’ve seen. If it’s not actually hiding you, just wear black or blue or whatever with “Blah Blah PD” on it. Now, you’re vaguely identified, just as not-blended-in, and it doesn’t look like the actual military is stomping faces.

    Or you can be tacticool. Woo.

    • Correct.

      Not blended in is another way of saying: a better target. Which means that they weren’t really worried about getting shot at. Unless this is a bad camera angle and the streets actually look like forests, this is purely an ego/intimidation issue.

      • Its spring turkey season in that portion of NY and all the locals were dressed that way: they were fitting in 😉

    • This is exactly how I feel. Why do they need to be “cool” and wear multicam? What’s wrong with blue or black or even olive drab with a patch that clearly ids them as Police? I don’t understand the need to be kitted out like an infantryman in Kandahar.

      • “Most officers I’ve interacted with have been polite, approachable and helpful and dress in the standard blues.”

        I have been an advocate that _if_ you need ‘Battle Dress Utility’ uniforms, DO NOT wear black…or even dark navy blue (hard to discern from black in most cases).

        You gotta remember that during WW-II many of the Nazi Waffen-SS wore black, along with the ‘regular’ Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo. NOT a good image for our cops to emulate.

        Here’s the color I would prefer the LEO’s ‘BDUs’ to be:
        Cobalt Blue


    • Looks like MultiCam, which is finally but slowly creeping in as the camo of choice in the Afghan Heroin Grower Protection Scam. It’s pretty good, and works well in a wide variety of terrains, but ATACS does it all better than that. And after taxpayers buy hundreds of thousands of MultiCam unis, they’ll switch over to ATACS.

      Both camo schemes obviate the need for separate forest and desert versions.

      And NO, cops should NOT go around looking like that. If those guys think the Mohawk Valley is Fallujah, they’re too crazy to be behind a badge.

      This paramilitarization of police in the country MUST CEASE AND DESIST.

  7. You don’t need to dress like a soldier to hunt down a killer. I think hunters who spend a ton on camouflage and other nonsense that their forefathers didn’t need and shooters who show up at the range all mall ninja’d up are jokes. But that’s harmless.

    This isn’t a joke, though, because cops actually have authority and the power of life and death over the commoner. And they’re not playing pretend. They think they’re the real deal.

    They are the new class of the king’s men. Modern day knights meet inquisitors of old.

    • Never wore camo to hunt deer, or anything else, in the bad old days, blue jeans and whatever shirt/coat you had. Think about it, way cool tac-camo, wearing a bright orange vest? OD was all we had in military, there were exceptions, but in general we wore OD jungle fatigues, we seemed to disappear pretty good. Camo has it’s place, wearing red in a snowfield might not be good idea, disco flashing at night, definitely not. But, downtown USA? They stand out like a sore thumb. It is mostly a fashion statement, even in the military.

      • For the record, I despise the paramilitarization of the police, too. But you two definitely sound like non-hunters. My camo for hunting is Realtree, which is not militaristic. Where I hunt, the mule deer are wily and cautious, and some years I never even see one, so something that breaks up my strange, human outline against the forest is not nonsense, and as a fastidious and ethical hunter, I also don’t think I’m a joke. Grandpa hunting whitetails in cornfields back when game was more plentiful isn’t really a fair comparison. Nor is comparing hunting camo to tacticool or shooting range ninjas. As far as blaze orange, current thought is that deer don’t perceive the color, so it provides safety without spooking them. And while simple OD may be great against a more-or-less solid expanse of jungle foliage, the breakup pattern on hunting camo works much better against rocky crags, tree trunks and branches, leaves and deadfall.

        It’s usually liberals whose arguments take the form of “I don’t understand it and I don’t like it, therefore it’s stupid and a joke.”

  8. The story I read earlier mentioned “an armored vehicle rolling down the street with state troopers in camouflage following it.” Or words to that effect. It put me in mind of panzer grenadiers alongside a Panther rolling down the streets of a French town.

    • I think these cops are more like Freikorps than Wehrmacht occupying a foreign land.

      They’re citizens of our country, many of them former military, who are now actively being used by the state to keep everyone in line.

  9. They should be wearing their regular police colors … not camo. . . Their uniforms are not camo !

    • It is from a communist country, only one with a terrific propagand dept . that keeps the serfs from thinking about it to much.

    • Well, we ARE headed down that socialist road now, aren’t we.

      The new Community Oriented Policing; the Community of the elite taking control over the commoners. The first move is to clearly establish an “us vs. them” mentality. That’s easy to do with most LEO’s because they have already been segregated into a special class in society by virtue of their work, authority, uniforms, chain of command and shared lack of trust (too often justified) of most non LEO’s.

  10. No. I actually think that by playing dressup they’re making there
    job harder. How many people are going to cooperate with cops
    who look trained to shoot first and ask questions later.

    • On the flip side, maybe that’s a good thing.

      The reason secret police are so successful around the world is because they look like everyone else and then blindside you.

      These guys stick out like sore thumbs.

  11. In my experience, the more “high speed” someone pretends to be, the lower their actual speed.

    In reality though, one can dress the part all they want. There is no substitute for training and combat experience. Pretending to be a grunt does not make you one. My experience with police (civilians and MPs) is overwhelmingly disappointing. Most have no concept of what to do in a gunfight, no knowledge of basic combat lifesaving skills, and attempt to make up for these deficiencies by over projecting their position and authority. There are many exceptions to the rule, but none of them belong to police departments outfitted with Crye Precision kits.

    And we all know wearing brand new MultiCam is a sign of being a Cherry. Fucking POGs.

  12. I gotta admit, the first look I took aty this picture had me doing a double-take. I was a cop, albeit a Federal cop for 31+ years and was surprised at the Camo. I did the emergency services job for years and was an instructor at our school as well… we wore LAPD Dark Blue with a few agencies wearing black.. Officers regularly degraded and mocked “civilians” running around in military cammies as “wanna bes” now it appears they’re the “wanna bes” … just hope they’re not “gonna bes.”

    • Yeah and the guy on the left in particular looks like an airfag. But if that were me,
      1 – I’d look like an airfag in multicam in front of a convenience store too
      2 – If I had the choice of that or dress blues, I’d be wearing the armor, and telling the purchaser what a douche he was latter.

  13. This is the same multicam that I was wearing in Afghanistan. All of this to chase down a guy with a Joe Biden special.

  14. They are playing soldier with that garb when they should be playing public servant. There is a fine line here & I think they crossed it, Randy

  15. First of all, I agree that our police should NOT BE DRESSED IN MILITARY GEAR.

    Second of all, that clothing does not distinguish them as law enforcement officers. If I encountered people dressed like that in public, I would have no idea if they were foreign invading troops, terrorists, national guard, militia, criminals, who knows.

    On the plus side, when “We the People” — the good citizens of the United States — have had enough and fight back, it will be impossible for the police to engage if the people fighting back wear the same readily available surplus digital camouflage clothing. (No one will know who is a “friendly” and who is an “enemy”.) That could also be an advantage for local deputies who stand with their community to oppose federal troops operating under unconstitutional orders.

    Okay, so it will be a huge mess.

  16. I’d really like to see “gun guys” get in front of the police militarization issue.

    For starters, we’re a bit more likely to know what we’re talking about. Unfortunately many more liberal-minded civil-libertarians tend to focus on the scary black rifle when they talk about police militarization, which isn’t really the issue.

    I’m more worried about the over-use of SWAT teams and no-knock warrants for non-violent drug busts, and less about the patrol rifle in a cop car.

    • “I’m more worried about the over-use of SWAT teams and no-knock warrants for non-violent drug busts, and less about the patrol rifle in a cop car.”

      If every cop wore a full interceptor suit, carried an M4, and drove an armored vehicle my biggest gripe would be about taxes not the gear.

      The issue isn’t what they have or wear, but what they are doing and how the extra gear fits into the picture. Jack boot thuggery isn’t about the jack boot, it is about the thuggery. The thuggery needs to stop.

      • The clothes make the man. You get all kitted up and put on the reflective Wiles X glasses and you think you’re invincincible. Not a good model for policing.

        Pus a lot of these cops look a little, um, heavy in all the battle rattle.

  17. They shoudn’t look like THAT, but to play the devil’s advocate… Police have traditionally worn uniforms that look very much like military uniforms. That’s why state police/troopers wear those goofy hats, they were origonally modeled after light calvery troopers. I’d guess only since WWII when fatiuges and other battle dress entered military kit was there a wide divergence between the two.

  18. This is a global trend you will see in other parts of the world. I’m against the militarization of law enforcement because of the different mindsets and outcomes. The role of the military is “To search and destroy enemies of the state”, while the the role of the police is “To serve and protect the people”. When law enforcement is militarized, or the military is used in civil law enforcement, the people become enemies of the state.

    We have an issue where a state police commissioner is openly antagonistic to LAFOs (Law Abiding Firearm Owners) and is publicly stating that LAFOs owning long-arms are contributing to crimes committed by outlaw motorcycle gangs with handguns. And this alleged contribution (via leakage, or theft, and straw purchases) is justification for further tightening of license requirements and a futile ammunition control bill which will have LAFOs details in a uncontrolled environment. Already the firearms registry lists were copied from a secured system to an unsecured intranet for “Operational Convenience” but now the details have reportedly ended up in the hands of criminals as a “shopping list”. Who would have thought that would happen?

  19. In the Herkimer shooting article, referring to the same person (I think I read carefully):
    “where they believe the 64-year-old is in hiding”
    two paragraphs later:
    “the 68-year-old set his residence on fire”

    Am I missing something?
    If not, it’s good to know they have their facts in order.

  20. At least they got Flat Dark Earth Magpul furniture for their rifles to match their camo, nobody wants militarized police that don’t match…

      • I have wondered that myself. Somebody at Magpul signed off on the name though. Maybe they thought that FDE was cooler sounding than just FE?

    • Nicely “accessorized” for certain. Hmmmmm. If we were to walk down the street with accessorized AR’s, we’d be labeled “terrorists”. Eeeeeeek!

  21. By the way the actual event (a man starts killing people in town) would be an almost non-event if several people were carrying concealed.

    I know … I am preaching to the choir.

  22. RF, I agree with you completely. I was an LEO from 1981 to 1996, in several different parts of the country, a firearms instructor, and FBI SWAT trained. As a younger man, all the cool gear was…cool. But there were still rules to be followed. The “War on Drugs”, and now the “War on Terror”, along with all the money flowing to departments that need to get more training and education, not full-auto rifles and armored cars, rolled right over those rules.
    I now fear my government and all its agents much more than I fear the bad guys.

    • You know what’s weird? All these SWAT cops these days dress like soldiers but they’re not **** compared to the old hard-asses who dressed like normal people and got the job done.

      Compare the image of the Herkimer SWAT with these guys, who I’m sure you’ll probably recognize as Frank Hamer and the squad that took out Bonnie and Clyde:

      I think they would’ve probably laughed at anyone who suggested they should dress and act like soldiers of their era.

    • They became local cops but feel they don’t get respected. They don’t feel like heroes. They actually rarely get shot. Because they’re policeman. The last LEO to get shot (by someone else) in my township was shot in 1905. They’re enforcing laws among primarily law-abiding people. Do they get that distinction? No. Why? Dressing like combat soldiers, they’re saying, we really are heroes, we’re just as good as them, really we are…aren’t we? “No, your not. Put daddy’s uniform back in the closet.”

  23. even with the military dress and gear, including mraps, these guys have been mucking it up all day. said on the radio they thought they had him cornered 3 separate times and lost him. shows ya why these guys are tooling up so bad, they are completely inept at doing the jobs we need them for. but they sure are good at harassing motorists and shooting dogs as well as other forms of intimidation, and lets face it thats what this military kit is for… INTIMIDATION.

  24. I’m starting to suspect that US police forces may be turning into a standing army, operating within domestic borders, exactly as the framers of the Constitution warned us.

    Not all of them. Not all at once. And not everywhere. But it’s happening in some places. And it’s BS, and it needs to stop.

    • > I’m starting to suspect that US police forces may be
      > turning into a standing army,

      Last fall, Mayor Bloomberg famously bragged, ”I have my own army in
      the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world.” So far he’s
      refrained from imposing military rule on the city, at least in the
      white neighborhoods, but the department nevertheless boasts an
      impressive arsenal.

      Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told “60 Minutes” that the NYPD could
      shoot down a plane last year. When asked for details at a press
      conference, Mayor Bloomberg basically told reporters to fuck off,
      saying, “The NYPD has lots of capabilities that you don’t know about
      and you won’t know about.”

      Nine Terrifying Facts About America’s Biggest Police Force
      Salon. Friday, Sep 28, 2012 07:17 AM MDT

    • Absolutely. It isn’t happening slowly. It’s happening quickly, affecting some fraction of LEO’s in nearly every department. The mayors want power. The bankers and RE developers what the mayor to have a little army. Bloomberg even calls his cops his army. It’s top-down thinking for the owning class, joined to the powerful meme of (syndicalism) unionization.

        • Those 13 men are trained on weapons such as S&W MP40 sidearms, S&W MP-15 rifles and Remington 870 shotguns. Some of these weapons are used for target shooting, which makes them vital assets in situations like the Virginia Tech or Columbine shootings. The others are a pump-action guns that help the shooter with marksmanship without the cost of coil.

          Thanks for the laugh @AlphaGeek. I needed some humor to break up the rest of today’s depressing reading. Cheers!

    • Who was it that said we needed a civilian security force equal to the military in size and power?

  25. If you want to play with the cool toys and wear BDU’s then man up, get your ass through RASP or SFAS and become a real operator. Being Rambo in Podunk, USA is not impressing anyone and you are not bad a$$.

    Police need to keep in mind that they are still “one of us,” not a UN peace keeping force. Most officers I’ve interacted with have been polite, approachable and helpful and dress in the standard blues.

    The image of thousands of paramilitary, M4 toting cops marching the streets in Charlotte while the DNC was in town, however, will never leave my mind.

    • Yeah, but if you stay a fata** police officer you can retire and keep your AR and high-cap mags. If you go through selection you just get PTSD and Lord Feinstein takes you weapons away.

  26. Those tubs look like they are taking down a Dunken Donuts. They shouldn’t be allowed in any type of uniform in that kind of condition, looks like their about to fall the f*ck out.

    • I was wondering just how fast the tubby on the left can run with all the tacticool gear he has on.

    • But they got it cheap from this really cool government Santa program, so it’s okay, right? Right? Right?

      …Maintain what now?

  27. But, they look so cool…. (“Jim-Bob, do these camos make my ass look too big”? “No, Leroy, your ass makes those camos look too small”).

  28. In repressive societies, the line between military and police is blurred. the image differences between a soldier and a policemen are also blurred.

    Discounting the attention of detail from history buffs, there were little differences in uniform between gestapo, Waffen SS, and the Heer. The same goes for the NKVD versus the Red Army. In some latin america banana republic? the military often does the policing and the police forces they do have are dressed like soldiers.

    This trend has to stop. Pretty soon, if not already in some parts of our country, the American police will start behaving like a occupying army.

    I agree with having a SWAT team if your city has over 100K people. I get that. But SWAT teams should be used strategically and very carefully, not against pot growers and gamblers.

    There needs to be a fundamental change of consciousness in America.

    • “But SWAT teams should be used strategically and very carefully, not against pot growers and gamblers.”

      Having been ‘MERT’ trained and qualified by the USDOI/BIA I can tell you that WRT the hard-core marijuana growers you have _seriously_ underestimated their defensive weapons and tactics capability!

  29. Not that worried if the fat tub of lard on the left of that picture is the best of the best, S.W.A.T. Getting pretty hard up these days?

    To answer the question more seriously this B.S. has been happening for quite some time now.

  30. If you are out looking for a guy with a gun (anywhere) and said guy with a gun is shooting people. What would you be wearing?

    • This is a good question. What would be an acceptable alternative for an officer going into a known shooting situation? Plate carrier over standard dress blues and maybe a helmet? Same gear in the picture but black or dark blue and with clear police markings?

      I am very concerned about the militarization of the police too, but surely there should be some form of protective gear for the guys or gals going up against a shooter that still lets everyone (especially them) know they are public servants.

  31. Used to be a time when cops did not wear ballistic vests and they carried a s&w model 10 revolver. If a police official promotes or supports anti-gun measures on the citizenry, then they are a dirty, filthy, treasonous pig who I hope dies for the good of the Republic.

  32. What a whole lotta hubblah over nothing….

    What they hell does it matter if they’re wearing multicam? It’s probably cheap to buy new in bulk…..

    Virtually all police uniforms these days are based off of military style. Shoulder straps, combination covers, smokey hats, gun belts, cargo pants.

    For a hundred years the police have used military style ranking structure, terminology etc and large numbers of police officers are former military. In the 1920s police officers were killing gangsters in sieges armed with semi auto rifles and BARs.

    These is nothing wrong with swat uniforms modeling military combat uniforms. Or weapons modeling military rifles. He’ll most modern gun owners own all the tacti cool crap themselves, it’s practical for the intended use

    • Wrong. There is a lot that’s wrong with it.

      Just because rank and chain of command were fashioned off of the military doesn’t mean that weapons and camo should be.

      • Why not? None of the stuff they have is illegal, ill bet you 7 out of 10 gun owners have the exact same kit and weapons. I have full sets of camo and web gear, and an AR

        • If the normal gun owner had access to full auto (made post ’86) rifles, carbines, and smgs then this wouldn’t be a big deal.

        • So now the police should wear Military-style gear and como because the public may or may not own it? That doesn’t make any sense. Law enforcement should have uniforms and kit that look like police uniforms not something you can pick up at a surplus store. They’re not Military, they’re civil servants and this just perpetuates the militarization of the police force in the general public’s mind and the law enforcement communities. Ever heard of Zimbardo’s prison study?

          Also, what the hell is wearing multicam in an urban setting supposed to mask you from exactly? From my perspective the Law enforcement community needs to be reminded of what they are, they’re not a Special Operations unit and they need to stop playing dress up.

      • wearing multicam in an urban environment may not mask you, but that’s not a reason not to use it, maybe that department has large rural areas, maybe they ordered it with several other agencies to get a bulk discount, maybe it was cheapest, hell maybe just because it looked cool. it doesn’t matter. The average citizen who doesn’t spend their time reading Radley Balko doesn’t think much about police militarization, because it’s not a new thing.

  33. the subtle difference between cops and soldiers is the operating assumption . cops serve and protect the public . Soldiers kill and control the enemy . the soldier is supposed to be a belligerent, His role is to initiate violence. A police officer is only supposed to employ violence to protect himself and the public. In the course of an arrest , police do not normally use violence unless the person attacks them .
    These are two incomparable mindsets and they are a world apart. The mindset is what separates a police force from a military occupation.

    It’s the mindset, not the title that tells us who you are. These guys are just dressing the part.

    • It’s funny, a friend of mine that did two tours in Iraq was commenting after the Dorner mistaken shootings, than in all his dozens and dozens, probably a hundred or more raids of Iraqi homes for HVIs, intel, contraband, whatever, neither he or anyone in his unit ever shot someone by accident. No one ever freaked out and spammed the trigger at someone that wasn’t a threat. Something about a mindset where you resign yourself to the fact that maybe getting shot is part of the job, and keeping your cool is critical.

      Somewhere along the line, maybe with the mindset that officer safety is priority number one, the ones that are supposed to serve and protect seem to be more trigger happy than the ones that are supposed to shock and awe.

    • “In the course of an arrest , police do not normally use violence unless the person attacks them .”

      For the police, violence has become the starting point in dealing with citizens.

      • Yup. Every stolen bicycle report starts with a beat down of the victim. Every parking ticket starts with clearing leather (kydex?). Everybody involved in a fender bender gets Tased.

        Exaggerate much?

        • @Upstater All of the B&E calls I have experienced starts with the police assuming the victim has drugs or stolen property that the perp was wanting. The victim is interrogated and is told that they must submit to their home being searched beyond the areas that they reported missing items etc. That is where the “violence” begins. When you assume the victim is at fault, then you begin to see the problem at it’s root.

  34. Camo? That stuff they’re wearing will help them blend in in front of a walmart? Don’t these guys own a mirror? That woodland camo will make them vanish in front of my white Toyota Camry?

    If they want to wear urban camo they need to look like fire hydrants and mail boxes. That one on the left has the fire hydrant shape down pretty good.

  35. Radley Balko has been writing about this for years at his The Agitator blog:

    He used to be on his own, until the Huffington Post made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He recently completed his book on the topic. His blog is part of my daily reads. Be warned though, it will elevate your blood pressure…

  36. Security guards have started to dress up like cops. Cops have started to dress up like soldiers. Soldiers have started to dress up like the locals, at least beards and keffiyeh. Could everyone please rotate once to the left? Thanks.

  37. They are either serving or occupying.Dressed like that makes the choice easy.Was that picture taken in Kabul?

  38. If the cops want to dress up like soldiers, they should go enlist in the Army. I am sick of these guys rockin’ the camouflage PX Ranger shit. They should wear blue uniforms and keep their badges out and obvious.

    • It’s quite humorous: Biden said the other day, “My son (Beau) says, ‘If you want an assault weapon, join the Army.’ ” How very well it fits your comment, Tim.

      • Whew! I was worried that Biden’s spawn might have been a little bit smarter than their old man. I tell you, sometimes it’s such a relief to be wrong.

        It still doesn’t mean he should have been breeding, though.

      • Hmmm; where have we heard something similar?

        Oh, yes:

        “Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA — ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the State.”
        ~ Heinrich Luitpold Himmler, commander of the German Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Gestapo

        And for all those black-clad police spread across the United States:

        “I know there are some people in Germany who become sick when they see these black uniforms, we understand the reason for this, and do not expect we shall be loved by all that number of people; those who come to fear us in any way or at any time must have a bad conscience towards the Fuhrer and the nation. For these persons we have established an organisation called the Security Service.”
        ~ Heinrich Luitpold Himmler, commander of the German Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Gestapo from his treatise “The Security Squadron as an Anti-Bolshevik Battle Organisation”, 1936

        So, guys; dump the black BDUs and switch to a lighter (aka ‘Indigo dye’) navy blue or cobalt blue. Let your constitutinents know you are NOT ”Schutzstaffel” or ”Gestapo” (”Geheime Staatspolizei”, or ””Secret State Police”)!

  39. On one hand they look very badass. On the other, that’s a little much even for a SWAT team. Those are SWAT officers yes? Not patrolmen? If they are regulars then something is brutally wrong here.

    • I have to disagree with the “badass” comment. They look like infantry soldiers, and that sends all the wrong messages. Badass these days is a beard, head wrap, vague clothing, first-rate sights on your weapon, and death in your eyes. These guys just want to be military. They don’t know what it means except “we get even more power and immunity, don’t we?”

  40. Most of the TTAG readers may not see this, however those of you who are in law enforcement I know you will agree with me here.

    As an LEO, it is our duty to enforce laws, and at times protect property and critical infastructure, as it reads no where are we told to protect individual citizens as a rule. That being said, LEO’s are being outfitted to hunt criminals, no longer are we the “mayberry” sherriff who knows everyone in the town we work in, we may even live in another city/county than where we work, so the mindset is one of hunting rather than peace keeping.
    you are worried about disarmament and LEO’s being used to go door to door to collect personal firearms? a large majoraty of those I work with are worried about the same thing.
    when the order comes to disarm the populace, there will be 3 types of LEO’s. the smallest amount will be “meat head” rambo types, these are very few, theyll follow the order and do the most damage, but there wont be enough of them to disarm the country.
    then there will be the followers, the LEO’s who know nothing else in their life other than to follow every order given them, there are more of these than the rambos, but their resolve to complete a disarmament will rapidly diminish when met with resistance.
    last you have the Free thinkers, those of us who will stand by the constitution and will side with freedom and wont go out and kick in doors to disarm our people, we may lose our jobs, but we know our freedom is more important than a badge and a uniform.
    it is a different world out there and the LEO’s have adapted to it, but a lot of us still love our country and our freedoms, so when you see us on the street toting M4’s wearing plate vests, I hope you look at us a little differently next time.

    • I agree. Cops cover the full spectrum from anti-gunners to hardcore gun people. Some folks would to like to imagine all law enforcement as trigger happy mindless storm troopers. They are individual people.
      Past incidents in LEO history are clearly laid out as to why SWAT cops carry ARs so let’s not pretend we don’t understand that. They wear armor because it is available and keeps people alive. We’ve been at war for over 10 years. Many companies have been mass producing armor and assorted gear (uniforms) such that their products are relatively plentiful and affordable within the reach of agency budgets.

    • Sorry, too damn many of you have gone along with kicking down doors over a couple ounces of ground up plant material. Too damn many of you have stood by while the “meatheads” have run wild abusing citizens. If you are wearing the uniform, you are part of the problem.

      • Exactly. Either for doing the wrong things and being a meathead, or for not doing a damn thing to reel those problem people in.

        There may be “good” cops in the sense that they try to do the right thing personally, but they aren’t good because they do NOTHING to solve the problem and just let it slide.

        I will never trust a police officer. You all have lost my trust for the rest of my life.

        • And that is exactly why the cops don’t trust you either…why don’t we apply your thought to the general public for a minute…? Murderers, rapist, robbers, child molesters, drunks…

          “Exactly. Either for doing the wrong things and being a meathead, or for not doing a damn thing to reel those problem people in.

          There may be “good” CITIZENS in the sense that they try to do the right thing personally, but they aren’t good because they do NOTHING to solve the problem and just let it slide.”

          • I don’t condone “Murderers, rapist, robbers, child molesters, drunks”. I’ve seen cases of entire departments condoning murder even when it was on film. Look up Fullerton PD if your bored.

    • apparently we should be looking at you with the fear of a prey animal, as you have just admitted to “hunting” people. thanks for letting us know how you guys really feel… cops are just awesome.

  41. I dunno about Herkimer, but even the urban areas ’round here have a lotta green. Solid dark blue stands out.

    In an active shooter situation, S.W.A.T. is certainly called for, and special clothing goes with that. I’ve no more problem with LEOs in cammo than with Joe the Plumber in cammo – at least if he eels it tucked in.

    As for weapons, are you seriously suggesting that one segment of society should be less well armed than another?

    A few years back, a particularly problematic nasty was only stopped when LEOs went to a gun store in the vicinity and borrowed the same type of gear the bad guy had.

    While I’m no fan of no-knock raids, I’ve no problem with the responders to an emergency being loaded for bear.

    • “As for weapons, are you seriously suggesting that one segment of society should be less well armed than another?”

      Yes, government employees should be less well armed than citizens.

      • “Yes, government employees should be less well armed than citizens.”

        If government employees are citizens then how could they be ” less well armed than citizens”? Unless of course you suggest we import non citizens to fill all government positions.

  42. I think it is great. I would want the person that is supposed to come after calling 911 to be able to handle any situation( especially an active shooter scenario).

    I think paranoia is the main reason why people don’t like to see cops dressed like this. Many a range hero I have seen has all of this gear and more.

    We are supposedly so entitled to have our AR-15s and whatever. Why leave the police with the scraps? Think about the reasoning behind this. The citizens should have access to Barrett .50 rifles, fully auto AKs and ARs (in some states), AK-47 and AR-15 semis but the police should wear no body armor (standard vest being effectively no body armor against any of the above) and have pistols?

    Are the police not citizens too?

  43. /sarc
    For the life of me I don’t understand why people think this site is anti-police…

    Take a look at the slide show attached to the Albany Times Union report: Those two (who are in two images) are the only two out of everybody shown all camo’ed up. Everybody else is either in their regular patrol uniforms (DEC is always in green), plain BDUs, or in plainclothes with a vest over the top. (I love the shot of the Investigators all standing there with their hands in their pockets staring at the robot, but that’s just me.)

    A more cynical person might even think to accuse our host with stirring the pot with an inflammatory image to drive page views and comments.

  44. You know, I’ve been reading all these comments and I keep having the same reoccurring thought. Everybody that has said anything negative here is either whining about things not directly connected to the story (no knock raids and use of SWAT for non violent suspects) or are whining about cosmetic features (OMG… camo 8^0 ) or inanimate objects (OMG… a rifle… with brown plastic features… 8^0 ). Aren’t ad hominems and anthropomorphications the domain of the other side?

    • I guess if you understood what “serve” and “protect” means you wouldn’t be questioning or ridiculing people here for their disgust of the militarization of police.
      Maybe if you ever get to experience this display first hand you might be able to understand why people feel the way they do about this issue.
      Sounds to me the only one whining here is you.

      • Close your gash if you are just going to post content-less condescending dribble. I’m no fan of the douches that wear uniforms or those that condone them, but you are equating inanimate objects with tyranny. It is the depths of stupidity that I usually see from HCI/BCAV and VPC.

      • Militarization of the citizens is fine but everyone is up in arms when the police try and catch up. Hypocritical are many of you folks.

  45. It’s the camo uniforms that are the most ridiculous to me.

    What are these guys going out to do, set up an ambush???

    If you want to act tough and like you are in the military, join the military and see what it’s like to actually need camo and to blend into your surroundings because the enemy is shooting back at you!!!

    It’s by no means tough to pretend your in the military and walk the streets like you have an enemy, because you don’t have an enemy, although you are most likely creating one!

    • The camo BDUs are machine washable. Wool blend patrol uniforms are dry clean only. The BDU uniform parts are ~$40. The patrol uniforms are ~$60 for a shirt and ~$80 for a pair of pants. Possibly even more, if they’re custom or low inventory items like the NYSP wears.

      You’re now in charge: what you would dress your officers in if they were going to be crawling around getting dirty in training or an emergency call out? How much of your budget would you spend on uniforms, which in the Northeast are provided by the department and not self purchased? Could there be any possible reason for these things being this way other than the police are villainous thugs just itching to ventilate a taxpayer and/or his or her dog while grinding their victims’ civil rights under their jack boots?

  46. lol I was just asking myself that same question as the title when I saw this pic yesterday.
    Absolutely no reason to be in camo armor, helmeted and carrying AR15s or are they m16s? I wonder if most who support this militarization even know the difference between full and semi, seems most who would support this would ironically support disarming private citizens.
    I saw this military show first hand in Minneapolis when the workplace shooting happened there last year over in northwest metro area. I not only saw camo armored police carrying m16s, I saw APCs, Hummers and I saw snipers on overpasses a good 4-5 miles from where the incident happened.
    It’s all for show, they wish for the public not to feel safe, but to feel scared, to feel powerless. Just more of the same.

  47. OMG… like… I know what a cop wears or carries doesn’t make them do or not do anything, but like… the color of that uniform is scary. And that vehicle… don’t get me started… I mean… it could like… stop bullets and everything. And what’s up with the helmets?!? I mean really, that went out of fashion decades ago. Who do they think they are… like 1950’s highway patrol or something… jeez. Oh and no way do they need rifles with brown plastic on them. That’s just redonckulous. I mean cops used to be just fine with tommy guns for stuff like this.

    ^^^ Yeah. I keep hearing this while reading some of these posts. ^^^

    • Do you find it funny that the folk on here don’t want anyone to take away guns but don’t want police to be able to effectively police those with those guns?

      Many hypocrites on this site me’sees.

      AR in a citizens hands is liberty according to their interpretation of the 2A. But those same guns in the hands of police is tyranny.

      No wonder some gun laws pass so easily in this country, no matter how silly the law.

      This group doesn’t know what it wants.

  48. I question how many are ex-military . Most smaller town ones are wannabes,you can tell by the shaved heads .There is NO reason for any police to be patrolling with full military gear . In regards to the cost of BDU’s vs police uniforms,most of them in this area are provided free. I had to pay for my uniforms after initial issue in the military, Post Office has to pay for theirs. TSA gets them free . When I see cops strut around in full gear AFTER the incident (like at Sandy Hook) I lose what respect I had for them .

    • ” I lose what respect I had for them .”

      Why? Would you rather they face the threat of an AR while wearing cloth hats and blue uniforms while they face the shooter with a 9 MM and a couple of reloads?

      I’m telling you folks that if you soon don’t haul your heads out of your asses we will all lose our rights.

    • Provided free? TANSTAAFL. Somebody bought them. You may not have seen the transaction, but nothing is free. The PD has a budget comprised of tax dollars and it is a real constraint on department administration. Spend too much on uniforms and training has to suffer. Spend too much on overtime and the vehicle fleet suffers. Spend too much on anything and the Chief gets fired and the village board starts talking about dissolving the department and relying on the county sheriff.

      There is no “free” at any layer of government.

  49. Hate to break everyones bubble…but the traditional cop “blues” that you’re all jumping up and down about…guess where those came from? THE UNION ARMY for the most part. During the formation of the first real, full time, “professional” law enforcement agencies in the United States…much of thier equipment and uniforms came from UNION ARMY SURPLUS in major cities like New York, Chicago, Philly, etc. You think they chose blue because it was a pretty color?

    As for the paramilitary stuff, it’s been happening slowly since the 1974 shootout between the LAPD and the Symbionese Liberation Army. SWAT was born from that, and has steadily grown and matured…thanks to such things as the FBI Miami shootout, the North Hollywood bank robbery, et al.

    We are an armed society…and I think it’s hilarious that you folks are using the same democrat gun grabber arguements against cops that the gun grabbers are using against YOU.

    Why do you NEED an assault rifle? Why do you NEED high capacity magazines? Why do you NEED armor piercing bullets?

    The same reason we all do, because everyone else has them…cops, military, and citizens alike.

    • i think most people here aren’t complaining because the cops have all this stuff, but because WE can’t have it too! at least, not without going through all the NFA ATF BS.

  50. In Mark Bowen’s Blackhawk Down the reaction of one Somali to this first sighting of the U.S. Army Rangers was “There was no part of them that looked human.” That is, the Rangers covering themselves with armor actually made it easier for Somalis to overcome their natural reluctance to shoot another person.

  51. Every comment on this form seems to be from people who believe they know how to do a job that they have never tried or have been turned down for because They couldn’t pass the testing. I would bet mostly the psychological testing! You are all very mistaken thinking that we “cops” want to take your guns away. We are usually gun people too. We just want the good people to have the guns. Not the emotionally disturbed nor the criminal element. We also know that guns are entrenched in our country and way of live. That means we will only be taking the guns away from the good folk NOT the bad guys. Just the opposite of what our fore fathers wanted. I’ve read nothing in this comment section other than guesses and accusations about Officers and what they stand for. I would bet most, if not all of you, would turn bitter if you had to deal with what a regular street cop had to deal with in a year or two.

    The cops in the battle gear you speak of are usually SWAT officers not the standard street officer. You are all the type of people who bark at a moments notice like “how dare you judge me without knowing me nor my situation?” And here you are judging the Officers who don’t ask names of the people they may die for tonight! You are all hypocrites! Put down your computers once in a while and go volunteer!

    And as far as the “combat expert” that says most cops don’t understand armed engagements: There are a lot of us who transition from the military to civilian law enforcement because we are still strong and did not give up on defending our country! Yes I said defend! I was there right after the plane hit the pentagon. I spent my time over seas after that. Let me state that before i continue! Your comparison of every Officer knowing armed confrontations to yourself is a joke! That is the same as saying everyone in our armed force has a complete understanding of armed encounters! You are most likely a POG yourself! To you I say “Go Fuck Yourself!” And if you are a true military man you know I mean that from the tip of my cock to the back of your throat!

    I will close with why does everyone feel they know a cop’s job better than a cop? Does everyone know a mechanic’s job better than a mechanic or a doctor his job, or an IT specialist his job, or an rocket scientist his? NO!!!! Because we are adults and don’t like to be told NO anymore we feel we can hate on the Police! Well I welcome the challenge and if I have to explain why to you, you will never understand!

    OVER & OUT….

  52. I am not against them up armoring, but that is only if the rest of the citizens can up armour too.

  53. The biggest reason is because they’re old military uniforms. The Military sells it’s old equipment to the Police for cheaper than it is to buy a new one. A full modern kit costs upwards a grand or two, the military sells it’s old stuff for near half. PDs aren’t made of money. It’s substantially cheaper to buy milsurp than it is to buy a custom brand new a uniform, rifle, plate carrier, and helmet. So to answer your question: they wear military uniforms because they’re cheaper.

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