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Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:04 PM

Why are some US police forces equipped like military units?

Why are some US police forces equipped like military units?
Controversial programme allows access to military gear including armoured vehicles, helicopters and grenade launchers

Read here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/05/why-are-some-us-police-forces-equipped-like-military-units

(snips)
Barack Obama restricted the controversial programme in 2015 following criticism that police forces had been too heavy handed in their response to the Ferguson protests, triggered by the killing of Michael Brown.

But Trump signed an executive order reversing the restrictions in 2017. According to the latest Department of Defense figures, police forces across the country now hold about $1.8bn worth of gear.

A 2017 study found that the receipt of military equipment by law enforcement agencies leads to an increase in the number of civilians killed by their officers.

When controlling for other variables, counties with the highest amount of military equipment received were found to record more than twice the number of police killings than those that received no equipment.


The article includes charts and stats clearly pointing out how this has not only increased shootings and killings but also also changed the mentality of our police to be much more aggressive and violent in dealing with citizens.

The main point for me is the fact that these equipment transfers and funding programs in part were for preventing terrorism but in reality they are terrorizing the general public.

KY.............

19 replies, 627 views

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:06 PM

1. Military donation from Iraqi and Afghanistan War..

Plus, the police force hires military veterans...they ya go

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:09 PM

2. To better deal with The Enemy.

Us.

At least to some of them.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:09 PM

3. After Afghanistan and Iraq we had so much surplus military equipment it was decided to sell it

to law enforcement agencies to recoup some of the cost. That's how local law enforcement teams wound up with armored vehicles and other weapons of war.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:10 PM

4. Cuz it's so effin' cool!!!

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:10 PM

5. Why are some US police forces equipped like military units? TINY PP's

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:16 PM

6. How many times have we heard...

Dress for the job
The clothes make the man
Dress for success
And on and on

Put a kid into a superhero costume...that kid is a superhero
Dress a child in a chefís costume...that child is a chef
Dress a man in hockey gear... he believes he can stop a hard rubber puck.
Footballers wear protective equipment...then go and put their bodies in possible injurious situations

See where Iím going with this?

Put a man in combat gear...give him a weapon...strap on a club...hook on a few flashbang grenades.

He thinks heís invincible and is dying to prove it.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:18 PM

7. More correlation vs causality problems -- Who seeks the funds in the first place

"
The article includes charts and stats clearly pointing out how this has not only increased shootings and killings but also also changed the mentality of our police to be much more aggressive and violent in dealing with citizens."

It is at least as likely that police and city leadership who have an aggressive mentality for police forces and are more OK with brutality will seek out the means to act upon those beliefs.

Doesn't matter which is the root cause -- the gear makes them feel no fear of reprisals or they want the gear because they didn't care about reprisals in the first place.

The badges usually say "To protect and serve" not "To dominate, intimidate, and kill".
Police forces need more forensic scientists and forensic accountants not military grade hardware to combat crime. They need more patrol cops walking neighborhoods and business districts. That is what will make people safe.

When I was in college working at the only 24 hour convenience store in his patrol, the K9 unit in the suburb I worked in would always come in between 2&3 to make certain that I was OK when I was writing the night deposit. He would swing by the fast food places when they were leaving after close and often follow the managers to the bank night deposit to help keep the workers safe.

He didn't need military gear. He just had to know that there were a few relatively easy cash targets to check on before he went back to widen his patrol.

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Response to JT45242 (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:38 PM

9. Agree that much of this problem falls on the shoulders of city leaders.

From the mayor to the city councils, the chiefs and officers, many cities still have that right-wing tough-on-crime mentality from top to bottom and that has only filled our jails and increase poverty.....which is the root cause of much of our crime.

Much needs to be changed and it won't change until Republican officials are voted out.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:19 PM

8. Seems its more a suburban & rural thing lately...

Police Are Killing Fewer People In Big Cities, But More In Suburban And Rural America
By Samuel Sinyangwe

While the nationwide total of people killed by police nationwide has remained steady, the numbers have dropped significantly in Americaís largest cities, likely due to reforms to use-of-force policies implemented in the wake of high-profile deaths. Those decreases, however, have been offset by increases in police killings in more suburban and rural areas. It seems that solutions that can reduce police killings exist, in other words ó the issue may be whether an area has the political will to enact them.
...
Police departments in Americaís 30 largest cities killed 30 percent fewer people in 2019 than in 2013
, the year before the Ferguson protests began, according to the Mapping Police Violence database. Similarly, The Washington Postís database shows 17 percent fewer killings by these agencies in 2019 compared to 2015, the earliest year it tracks


https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/police-are-killing-fewer-people-in-big-cities-but-more-in-suburban-and-rural-america/


Meanwhile urban criminal violence remains a BIG problem.

So many were killed by gunfire in Chicago Sunday, the medical examiner brought in extra pathologists for the autopsies.

Last Sunday was the most violent day of one of the most violent weekends in Chicago in recent memory.

Of the more than 20 killed by gunfire across the city over the weekend, 15 died on Sunday, so many the Cook County medical examinerís office said it had to bring in additional pathologists to handle the autopsies.

In all, more than 80 people were shot over the weekend in Chicago amid widespread looting in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.


https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-chicago-gun-deaths-sunday-20200602-rcqkeqliivb2lekog7kkk42aci-story.html

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:42 PM

10. I hate seeing any inference that there is any kind of equivalence between those two problems.

The main difference is right there in text..."criminal".

All of that violence in Chicago and elsewhere is illegal. It will be investigated, prosecuted and punished to the greatest degree possible.

The primary problem with police violence is that it is often considered an acceptable part of the job and not prosecuted. Certainly it would be greatly diminished if there were consequences to their violence. If nothing else, there would at least be consideration that some sort of justice was served.

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Response to genxlib (Reply #10)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:52 PM

14. Yes! Police brutality and injustice must be investigated and prosecuted - by separate entities.

AGs or DAs etc. that aren't dependent on the PDs in any way.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 01:04 PM

16. K&R, thanks for sharing that data and the links. Very interesting.

I think a lot of smaller cities have been in a budget crunch that has prevented proper repetitive police training, resulting complacency and mischief. I also wonder if Republicans have increased their control of small and medium local governments, which almost always results in excessive police use of force and arrests, which in turn increases poverty. Citizens vote for their tough on crime bullshit and then it backfires in the poor.

Right now, I think we're seeing the result of several aggravating factors coming together at a bad time during the pandemic:
* Sharp increase in poverty due to layoffs resulting in increased crime by theft.
* Extreme stress in the public due to Trump, the coronavirus (isolation, loss of jobs and income, and poor healthcare) and now police violence. Most everyone is stressed to a degree.
* Anger and fear over racial injustice and inequality has been brewing to a boiling point for a long time and it now appears to have blown its top.
* Overall disgust with America's political system and economic inequality is another slow burner aggravated by the above factors.

KY

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:48 PM

11. I think there is a secondary aspect to this

The explosion of gun culture in this Country has created an environment where the police are constantly on guard.

They dress for battle every day as if every single citizen is a potential threat to them.

Unfortunately, there is some truth to that since any given person on the street can be packing a deadly weapon. And we have seen enough people willing to brandish and use them that the risk of getting shot these days is no longer negligible. It has changed the way I behave in the average parking lot encounter. It would be foolish not to acknowledge that it has had an impact on how police behave.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:48 PM

12. THIS!

This is important...

Take a look at where your local tax $ goes...

We're fucking broke, but the cops get planes, choppers, ATV's, trucks, body suits, weapons, etc, etc...

Why do their budgets never get cut?

Oh yeah, because it is ORGANIZED CRIME! Here in Ontario, we have the OPP. The OPP sets a "minimum" enforcement level for each municipality - if they, and they decide, that your municipality hasn't spent enough money on them, they can declare your municipality "unsafe".

Then guess what happens? You can't get insurance or the rates go sky high...

Someone tell me how this is different from 2 guys walking into a business and saying "hmmm..nice store you got here...shame if something were to happen to it.."

It's the oldest extortion scam in the business...but it's allowed.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:50 PM

13. I recall three weeks ago

There were more than a few posts quite in favor of the police having military gear. Some suggested they use such gear rather indiscriminately.

Three weeks ago I did not believe the police should look like something out of a dystopian movie, nor should they use violence against protesters who are acting within the law. Even if the protest is loud and heated.

I believe the same thing today.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:54 PM

15. It was a huge warning, but the dreadful tragedy of 2016 happened anyway.

"a democracy -- if you can keep it." Benjamin Franklin

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 01:24 PM

17. Shock and awe

The police want you to be afraid of them, very afraid.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 02:20 PM

18. Probably started in the days of hostage takings

in the 70s. This was the demand of the public afraid of such things. And the "War on Drugs" that we insisted was such a huge problem. These are leftovers from the 90s when everyone was obsessed with crime and convinced it was increasing.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 06:29 PM

19. Because ...

When there was a guy in a gay nightclub in, I believe, Florida, he had locked himself in and going from location to location inside just shooting people. He was positioned by the time the police were ready to attack and take him out so he had all the entrances covered.

They nailed him without getting anybody else killed by having a military-style vehicle that was armored and could knock down an exterior wall, producing a new entrance--at which point he had to abandon his cover or let himself be shot from behind.



A few years ago there was a situation in Dallas. Gunman was well armed, but there was no way to rescue the people that were trapped. Their locations were safe, but they were pinned down. If they got up to escape, they'd be exposed. The gunman was using a gun with ammo that would have been able to shoot through most car doors.

A military armored vehicle was brought it. It could simply drive between the gunman's location and the non-combatants who were pinned down, letting them get up and into the APC. The APC could also serve as a mobile location for positioning police to be able to monitor the gunman without putting themselves at risk.


With COVID, the refrain was that we'd do what was necessary to save even one life. These vehicles saved several.

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