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Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Friday, February 13, 2009

Militarizing Police Departments With Your Bailout Money

High Plains Lawyer sends this article from the Lone Star Times on the high times ahead for your local po-lice.

An excerpt:

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...The United States Conference of Mayors has assembled the most ridiculous and repulsive example of government excess I think I have ever seen. Here is a PDF file of the document which stretches to 344 pages. One of the most alarming features of this civic gluttony is the gift list request for funds to buy military SWAT assault equipment for police forces like the examples offered here by Texas blogger and Reason.com contributor, Trey Garrison:

  • Frisco wants $125,000 for an armored vehicle and $200,000 for a mobile command vehicle. You know, for all that gang tank warfare going on up in Frisco.
  • McKinney wants $5 million for SWAT toys and stuff.
  • North Richland Hills wants $51,000 for volunteer patrol volunteers. Let’s throw in $10 for a dictionary so they can look up the word “volunteer.”
  • Irving wants $5 million for biometric scanners, digital cameras, RFID scanners — nothing Big Brother there.
  • Grand Prairie wants $1.25 million for nicer landscaping around the public safety building.
  • And finally, Arlington is really gearing up for urban warfare. Arlington wants $1.6 million for SWAT toys including more equipment for those deadly but camera-friendly no-knock raids, $56,000 for military grade carbines, $625,000 for unmanned aerial surveillance drones, and $130,000 for “covert ops.”

Here is the “Public Safety” wish list from the US Conference of Mayors.

Radley Balko, of The Agitator and contributing editor of Reason, offers these galling examples of cops gone Rambo:

• Sparks, Nevada wants $600,000 to purchase a “live fire” house its SWAT team can shoot up, and another $420,000 for a SWAT armored vehicle.

• Pleasanton, California wants $250,000 to buy a vehicle for its SWAT team.

• Gary, Indiana wants $750,000 for a host of “modernization” upgrades to its police department, including “sub-automatic machine guns” and an “armored vehicl” [sic].

• Hampton, Virginia wants a whopping $3.5 million for “Air Tactical Unit Support and Equipment,” which I’m pretty sure means they want a sweet helicopter for the SWAT team.

• Ottawa, Illinois (population: 18,307) wants $60,000 to purchase, among other things, five “tactical entry rifles.”

• Glendale Heights, Illinois wants $96,000 to purchase red light cameras, and another $67,000 to hire someone to monitor them.

• Toward a more Orwellian America! The following cities requested stimulus funds to supplement, initiate, or upgrade public surveillance camera systems: Brockton, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; Burnsville, Minnesota; Caguas, Puerto Rico; Cerritos, California; Columbia, South Carolina; Compton, California; Homestead, Florida; Hormigueros, Puerto Rico; Indianapolis, Indiana; Inglewood, California; Lewiston, Maine; Lorain, Ohio; Lynn, Massachusetts; Marion, Ohio; Merced, California; New Rochelle, New York; North Richland Hills, Texas; Oakland, California; Orange, New Jersey; Orem, Utah; Orlando, Florida; Pembroke Pines, Florida; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Riverdale, Illinois; Shreveport, Louisiana; Silver City, New Mexico; Sumter, South Carolina; Tallahassee, Florida; Warren, Ohio; and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina requested just under $85 million in security-related stimulation. But top prize goes to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is asking the rest of the country to stimulate its economy with a whopping $135 million in public safety-related requests.

All in all, America’s mayors asking for a little over $5.5 billion in public safety “stimulus.”

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Note and incorporate Billy Beck's recent observation:

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...Recall the admonitions over "standing armies" in the Declaration of Independence. What Jefferson did not foresee is the various police forces representing that threat. I think about the allegiance of the army in times of civil strife in this country, but they are not the central threat. That comes from your local police departments, in league with their septic brethren throughout the land. All political, and tactical and strategic, outlooks should account for this.
***


Audentes fortuna juvat.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This stuff makes my blood boil - its bad enough that they extort a hefty portion of our labor, that they waste it, and that they use a not insignificant portion of that for equipment and training that is intended for use against us...but to do it all in one bill like this is rather galling.

However, when it comes to armored vehicles being used to oppress citizens, I am always reminded of the following story:

During WW2 when Yugoslavia was occupied by the Germans, someone asked him, "How can your partisans, armed with a bunch of old rifles, take on the Germans and their new Panzers?" Tito responded, "When the Germans get out of their new tanks to take a piss, my partisans will shoot them with their old rifles."

In other words, the human element still governs. Being smarter and more patient than an otherwise overwhelmingly strong opponent has won many battles and wars for the "weaker" party. "Weaker" is most definitely in the eye of the beholder.

February 13, 2009 at 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Casey Shillito said...

Did you really list landscaping as an example of the militarization of local lawenforcment?

February 14, 2009 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Ed Rasimus said...

One only needs to watch the video from any of the idiot-run-amok mass murders to understand the very questionable nature of these SWAT operations.

A group of thuggish bubbas outfit themselves in Ninja regalia, often in sizes 2X or 3X, then festoon themselves with black (AKA-scary) regalia to storm the redoubts of crime. But upon arriving at a for-real, murdering-in-progress site the sip their Starbucks and cower behind their armored vehicles while attempting to contact the miscreant by cell-phone.

They enter the building after the shooting has stopped and never before.

Give me the days of every Constable-On-Patrol being eager to stop crime right now. Don't give me a Ruby Ridge or Waco style assault-when-ready force of commandoes.

February 14, 2009 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger LauraB said...

I do prefer to think that my state is just making use of ill-gotten gains against a time when we might need that gear to secure its...separation.

Probably not.

But it is a dream I have...

February 14, 2009 at 6:45 PM  

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