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calendar   Thursday - March 07, 2013

ACLU Does The Right Thing?

ACLU opens a national investigation into the militarization of the police. How much has gone on? Who is behind it? Is it necessary? And to what use is all this being put?

It’s almost certain that if the police agencies cooperate, the ACLU will find that the militarization trend has accelerated since Kraska’s studies more than a decade ago. All of the policies, incentives and funding mechanisms that were driving the trend then are still in effect now. And most of them have grown in size and scope.

The George W. Bush administration actually began scaling down the Byrne and COPS programs in the early 2000s, part of a general strategy of leaving law enforcement to states and localities. But the Obama administration has since resurrected both programs. The Byrne program got a $2 billion surge in funding as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, by far the largest budget in the program’s 25-year history. Obama also gave the COPS program $1.55 billion that same year, a 250 percent increase over its 2008 budget, and again the largest budget in the program’s history. Vice President Joe Biden had championed both programs during his time in the Senate.

The Pentagon’s 1033 program has also exploded under Obama. In the program’s monthly newsletter (Motto: “From Warfighter to Crimefighter"), its director announced in October 2011 that his office had given away a record $500 million in military gear in fiscal year 2011, which he noted, “passes the previous mark by several hundred million dollars.” He added, “I believe we can exceed that in FY 12.”

Then there are the Department of Homeland Security’s anti-terrorism grants. The Center for Investigative Reporting found in a 2011 investigation that since 2001, DHS has given out more than $34 billion in grants to police departments across the country, many of which have been used to purchase military-grade guns, tanks, armor, and armored personnel carriers. The grants have gone to such unlikely terrorism targets as Fargo, N.D.; Canyon County, Idaho; and Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Since the 1990s, the Pentagon has made military equipment available to local police departments for free or at steep discounts. This, along with drug war-related policies, has spurred a trend toward a more militarized domestic police force in America. Law enforcement and elected officials have argued for years that better-armed, high-powered police departments are needed to fight the war on drugs.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the war on terror has accelerated the trend toward militarization.

Just a few days ago there was the story about DHS buying and refurbishing several THOUSAND MRAP armored ‘mini-tank’ vehicles. To go along with their billions of bullets they’ve ordered.

And now we’ve got Holder and Obama with the drones thing, believing that they can target and execute any American at any time without any kind of due process. And the drones are already up there, flying about. And we only have their word that they aren’t armed in some way.

I’m no flower carrying hippie, but all this makes me want to beat my bongos in protest. We’re living in a police state man. The Man is out of control, man. Like, for real.  And the President seems to be complaining that he’s not the Emperor. Excuse me, what??

I’m pretty sure that the cops in my sleepy little no-crime town of about 5,000 folks do not have a tank. But we have a police force of about two dozen officers, some with possible ‘roid rage, which seems rather a lot. And every patrol car has every kind of computer gee-whiz gizmo made inside, right next to the M16, and all the cars have those crash bar things on the front for offense driving. And of course the bullet-proof vests and the hi-cap pistols with the double magazine belt buckle and 2 more on the utility belt with the tazers and the tear gas. The local paper runs the Crime Blotter, and about the worst thing that ever happens here is a couple of inebriated drivers or some punk kids getting caught with a little bag of weed. I know the county does have a highly militarized SWAT team, and those guys have a large and very heavy duty vehicle. But that’s all I know about it.

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If you think it’s somnolent here, we’re the happening Bright Lights Big City compared to Doylestown PA, a little crossroads village across the Delaware nearby. And they have, or have access to, a genuine APC. An Armored Personnel Carrier. Once in a while they need it, when one of NJ’s heavily armed cops goes wild. It’s all out of control and ungroovy, man. Posse Comitatus or not, I don’t want the local plod to be armed and armored like soldiers. It’s too damn much power and they will abuse it. They’re already far too big for their britches as it is, and long ago gave up any semblance of Community Policing With Your Friendly Town Officers. No. Now they are Teh Authority. And you’d better obey.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/07/2013 at 12:38 PM   
Filed Under: • Jack Booted Thugs •  
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