Arming Law Enforcement – How Far is Too Far?

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Do you know what kind of militaristic organization your police or Sherif’s Department is turning into?

Scene from Anaheim’s 2012 “civil unrest.” And below, another.

The New York Times, in a story headlined “War Gear Flows to Police Departments,” reports that with the wind down of our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, heavy duty and sometimes exotic military equipment is flowing to local law enforcement agencies throughout the country. And such equipment is often being put in place in our communities by law enforcement without the elected officials of the city or county even knowing about it, much less approving it.

The story reports that M-16 grenade launchers, 100 round magazines for M-16’s, night vision goggles, silencers, armored cars, large mine resistant vehicles, camouflage clothing and netting, and even aircraft are being made available to law enforcement agencies throughout the country, and are being snapped up and deployed in our communities. The article found a County Sheriff who did not even know that his department had received 40 silencers.

Anyone who has seen law enforcement in action knows, whether it is the sad occasion of a funeral for a fallen officer or a response to a mass shooting, law enforcement agencies have increasingly embraced military tactics, from their daily conduct to their tactics in enforcement actions, especially in mass shooting and hostage situations. Now, with the news that this military equipment is being deployed domestically, it seems that military presence and style is moving up a level or two in more and more communities.

Some are raising questions as to whether this is a positive trend for our safety, or a scary development that will help turn our communities into armed military posts. Is there a militaristic “command post” with land-mine resistant trucks in the future of your neighborhood ? Is this what we want?

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.