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Drawing Down: How To Roll Back Police Militarization In America

Sykes

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Drawing Down: How To Roll Back Police Militarization In America

Today in America, SWAT teams are deployed about 100 to 150 times per day, or about 50,000 times per year -- a dramatic increase from the 3,000 or so annual deployments in the early 1980s, or the few hundred in the 1970s. The vast majority of today's deployments are to serve search warrants for drug crimes. But the use of SWAT tactics to enforce regulatory law also appears to be rising. This month, for example, a SWAT team raided the Garden of Eden, a sustainable growth farm in Arlington, Texas, supposedly to look for marijuana. The police found no pot, however, and the real intent of the raid appears to have been for code enforcement, as the officers came armed with an inspection notice for nuisance abatement.

Where these teams were once used only in emergency situations, they're used today mostly as an investigative tool against people merely suspected of crimes. In many police agencies, paramilitary tactics have become the first option, where they once were the last.

“It’s really about a lack of imagination and a lack of creativity,” says Norm Stamper, a retired cop who served as police chief of Seattle from 1994 to 2000. “When your answer to every problem is more force, it shows that you haven’t been taught and trained to consider other options."
In addition;


There's just way too much of this bull**** going on. It feels like our own police are being used against us.
 

Thoreau72

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Good subject!

A friend sent me the WSJ article by Radley Balko on July 20, The Rise of the Warrior Cop, discussing this subject.

The impetus for this militarization is from the drug prohibition. If the prohibition were repealed, this phenomenon would perhaps be reduced. A militarized police force is not good for society, and we are seeing so many examples of this.
 

Aunt Spiker

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Helix

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end the stupid drug war, and only use SWAT for serious hostage situations.
 

Sykes

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Good subject!

A friend sent me the WSJ article by Radley Balko on July 20, The Rise of the Warrior Cop, discussing this subject.

The impetus for this militarization is from the drug prohibition. If the prohibition were repealed, this phenomenon would perhaps be reduced. A militarized police force is not good for society, and we are seeing so many examples of this.
This issue has become worse and worse on a daily basis. It makes our cops look like nothing more than jack-booted, reactionary thugs.
 

Thoreau72

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This issue has become worse and worse on a daily basis. It makes our cops look like nothing more than jack-booted, reactionary thugs.
This is why I support LEAP. They are ashamed of what the prohibition has done to their chosen profession. My grandfather was a Chicago cop during the days of Al Capone, so I'm sympathetic to the goals of LEAP.
 

Sykes

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Home | LEAP

I had to add 'cops' to LEAP, or I came up with all manner of unrelated subjects. :)
 

Thoreau72

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For their speaking truth to power, one might compare LEAP to Snowden or Manning, or perhaps the Oath Keepers.
 

CHuDWah

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I've never been in any more serious trouble with cops than them giving me a couple traffic tickets, which I deserved. I was raised to respect them and, when I was a kid, to seek one out if I was lost, hurt, etc. No more. For whatever reason, "protect and serve" has morphed into "us vs them" and their attitude that a badge and a gun puts them above the law. They all may not be that way but the ones who are definitely give the others a bad name. One problem is they usually are self-policing (pun intended) and tend to protect the bad ones. I know of a couple communities that have citizen boards that review all complaints against cops. They have no enforcement power but often force action by bringing abuses to media, and hence, public attention.
 

MaggieD

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Drawing Down: How To Roll Back Police Militarization In America

In addition;


There's just way too much of this bull**** going on. It feels like our own police are being used against us.
A lot of this comes from explosive budgets. "We want more money. We need more money." SWAT!! We need a SWAT team!!! Oh!! And, of course, that means we have to find reasons to deploy it. I saw it on a small local level when I was a village trustee. In that case, it wasn't coppers. It was the fire department.
 

Thoreau72

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I've never been in any more serious trouble with cops than them giving me a couple traffic tickets, which I deserved. I was raised to respect them and, when I was a kid, to seek one out if I was lost, hurt, etc. No more. For whatever reason, "protect and serve" has morphed into "us vs them" and their attitude that a badge and a gun puts them above the law. They all may not be that way but the ones who are definitely give the others a bad name. One problem is they usually are self-policing (pun intended) and tend to protect the bad ones. I know of a couple communities that have citizen boards that review all complaints against cops. They have no enforcement power but often force action by bringing abuses to media, and hence, public attention.
Good post!

The largest single reason for the change to the "us v. them" mentality you correctly observe is the very stoopid and harmful drug prohibition. There are probably a few others to be factored in, but the largest single reason is the drug war.
 

radcen

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I've never been in any more serious trouble with cops than them giving me a couple traffic tickets, which I deserved. I was raised to respect them and, when I was a kid, to seek one out if I was lost, hurt, etc. No more. For whatever reason, "protect and serve" has morphed into "us vs them" and their attitude that a badge and a gun puts them above the law. They all may not be that way but the ones who are definitely give the others a bad name. One problem is they usually are self-policing (pun intended) and tend to protect the bad ones. I know of a couple communities that have citizen boards that review all complaints against cops. They have no enforcement power but often force action by bringing abuses to media, and hence, public attention.
They deserve to be respected. There's nothing wrong with that. But, it's not unreasonable for them to respect the intent of the Constitution and the intent of the rule-of-law, also. In fact, it should be expected.


A lot of this comes from explosive budgets. "We want more money. We need more money." SWAT!! We need a SWAT team!!! Oh!! And, of course, that means we have to find reasons to deploy it. I saw it on a small local level when I was a village trustee. In that case, it wasn't coppers. It was the fire department.
Money is corrupting. Whether it's an agency that gets $X dollars in their budget, or an accountant who rises to $x/yr as wages, it's hard to go "backward".
 
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