The “militarization” of police was not only inevitable, but necessary

posted at 10:01 am on August 16, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

The rioting, protests and controversy continue to swirl around Ferguson this weekend, and you will no doubt be reading plenty of coverage from both sides about it. But in the background, a disturbing, larger national conversation has erupted out of the troubles in the St. Louis suburb. The hot topic everywhere seems to be a growing call to halt the so called “militarization” of the nation’s civilian police forces, highlighted by the riot suppression gear on display in Ferguson. It’s an argument coming from both sides of the ideological spectrum, too.

The IBD editorial board warns us to “beware” of this trend. John Fund, writing at National Review, worries over not just police, but a host of federal agencies being armed to the teeth. Bob Barr sounds the alarm as to how the psyche of our police must become warped when they are equipped like soldiers. Our own Noah Rothman has written thoughtfully on the subject, expressing some of his own concerns.

Frankly, I find the whole discussion to be a rather rapid rush to judgement and lacking in larger context. As far as the specific incidents in Ferguson go, we still need a lot more information before final conclusions can be drawn. The details of the initial shooting may remain in question, but what followed was well documented. Riots and looting broke out on a massive scale for such a small town, and continue this morning. The local police stood on the edge of being completely overwhelmed. And whether or not you find their level of response appropriate, this one local disturbance has turned into a national demand to defang the police. The Washington Post quickly began issuing advice on how to tame the cops. Clearly the nation’s legislators were listening, as Hank Johnson (D – Georgia) has already drafted legislation to do just that.

Am I the only one who finds this rather insulting to the nation’s first responders in general? Even if we are to assume that the Ferguson police crossed a line in breaking out their heaviest equipment in an attempt to reestablish control (which has not been conclusively proven at all, in my opinion), what of the rest of the country? As these critics frequently note, police departments in cities and towns of all sizes have been equipped with more modern, military style equipment for quite some time now and they don’t seem to be converting the rest of the nation into a series of oppressive death camps. And far too often, the cops find themselves in need of the “big guns” and body armor.

In case you think I’m coming in late to this debate, it’s not true. There was apparently a meeting held at some point in which Radley Balko was appointed as the go to guy for such discussions, but that dates back quite a ways. More than a year ago, Balko was pushing his ideas about so called “warrior cops” and at that time I penned an editorial stating that he was going too far.

Do we need “kinder and gentler” cops interacting with the community in a friendly fashion? It is certainly to the benefit of the police to be in good standing with a cooperative community and to know the people they protect and serve, but they also deserve a fighting chance when the situation suddenly turns violent and ugly. The rise of “warrior cops” may not be what everyone would hope for, but I don’t see any realistic alternatives.

While I both understand and sympathize with the reminiscing for the good old days, the times have changed. The era of the lovable flatfoot, twirling his baton and wagging a finger at the precocious kid about to steal some penny candy has passed us by. Have we collectively forgotten the riots that took place following the Rodney King verdict? How about the now infamous North Hollywood shootout? And for our friends on the Left, what about the next time somebody goes into an elementary school armed with a Bushmaster and a couple of 9mm Glocks? You don’t want us arming the teachers or having local residents open carrying to keep the school grounds safe. “Leave it to the cops,” you say. But should the cops be going into a situation like that with nothing more than a layer of cotton uniform and a revolver to protect themselves and take down the bad guys? Or should they have to wait until a SWAT unit from an “appropriately large city” shows up, with the shooter mowing down third graders in the meantime?

While the shooting of Michael Brown may provide a teachable moment in terms of police interactions with the community, the nearly immediate mayhem which followed should also serve as a timely reminder. The old assumptions of law enforcement and their unwritten compact with the citizenry relied on a society where the police – and the laws – were respected, and criminals were a minority who would be rejected by the rank and file residents. But when the majority of an entire community decides to break that compact, the formula changes. They realize that they outnumber – and frequently outgun – the cops. A slumbering, snarling beast is awakened and in short order the police can find themselves on the run. This is not a formula for freedom of speech… it’s the path to mayhem and the breakdown of civil society. Before you’re too quick to demand the “demilitarization” of the police, you might want to remember who it is that stands between the neighborhood you have now and South Central L.A circa 1992. And Ferguson has shown us that you don’t need a huge metropolitan area for it to happen.


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Say NO to fascism. Say No to “conservatives” advocating for a militarized police.

coolrepublica on August 16, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Glad to see that you put conservatives in quotes. Most of the voices AGAINST militarized police are conservatives and libertarians, not the liberals/progressives who apparently see government control as the solution to all problems.

Nomas on August 17, 2014 at 9:20 AM

How would this execution of a search warrant have been different oh, say, ten years ago?

First, admire all the butch Gucci Armour®.

Then watch as our heroes break the door and windows about three seconds after announcing their presence.

Marvel at how the treat they two women in the home.

Laugh with them as they revel in their machismo.

And finally, it was the wrong house.

Akzed on August 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM

TL/DR version: No-Knock raids need to end, and the military gear taken away and given to professionals who can use it.

ConstantineXI on August 17, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Agreed.

Kaffa on August 17, 2014 at 9:27 AM

The old assumptions of law enforcement and their unwritten compact with the citizenry relied on a society where the police – and the laws – were respected, and criminals were a minority who would be rejected by the rank and file residents. But when the majority of an entire community decides to break that compact, the formula changes. They realize that they outnumber – and frequently outgun – the cops. A slumbering, snarling beast is awakened and in short order the police can find themselves on the run. This is not a formula for freedom of speech… it’s the path to mayhem and the breakdown of civil society.

Jazz is right about this.

celt on August 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM

^This^

I’m good with demilitarizing the police …. just as soon as we regain our understanding that looters are to be shot.

The society that respects police and shoots looters is the kind of society that can afford to send its police into dangerous situations without body armor.

That is not the society we are in.

fadetogray on August 17, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Of course No Knock raids are often an extreme violation of the Constitution. There are thousands of judges who deserve to be …. let’s just say removed from the bench. But that’s a whole different argument from the one about police wearing body armor.

fadetogray on August 17, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Horseshit, we have a national guard. We don’t need or want a militarized police force. It is unconstitutional.

mcgilvra on August 17, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Whatever.

If you’ll notice, we’re now a few nights beyond the ‘militarized’ response, and into the ‘normal cop in uniform’ response, then into the ‘let the looters/savages have their way and everyone will love us and calm down’ response, to the ‘curfew’ response, and now apparently moving back to the ‘let them have their way’ response.

How’s all of that working out so far? More looting, spreading to other areas, more shootings, more violence.

Hmm, odd – the one thing that’s been constant here is the looters/savages.

That we’re having to talk about how Wal-Mart and other businesses (and unspoken are the homeowners doing the same damn things) are gearing up, barricading, and more, just to protect themselves.

Hello? Seriously? You idiots are whining about the cops – WHERE *ARE* THE F*CKING COPS? Are you happier now that the cops are *ABSENT* or *SPECTATING*? And *zero* commentary any longer about the looters, the savages, the *reason* the cops ramped up in the first place. Did the heavy weapons/armor not roll out *AFTER* these pieces of shit ran amok and rioted? The ‘militarization’ didn’t escalate anything, and removing it sure hasn’t de-escalated anything.

Idiots.

Midas on August 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Technically speaking, hollow points expand, not explode, and military ammo is all FMJ (at least for those following the Hague Convention of 1899).

F X Muldoon on August 16, 2014 at 11:40 PM

you are absolutely correct. Ignorant language on my part.

Here is a great demo of FMJ full metal jacket vs hollowpoint

And another - using a 22

I understand police overreach, but in general, I know the purpose of police and they in the majority are risking their butts for my safety. I do not understand the motives behind the new federal agency armies, and the little they have been tested bodes badly. Federal overreach is the most important issue, because the local police are under local oversight, but the federales take no instructions from the locals

entagor on August 17, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Absolutely dead f*cking wrong. We have police, paid professionals, to be police, and a National Guard (or militia) composed of ordinary citizens, to act as military force when needed domestically. We do not need a standing army of professional warrior cops who can only be enemies of liberty.

Read history. Standing armies among the population are only for oppression, and free people do not tolerate them. My own forbears have been fighting tyranny beginning with being sureties for Magna Carta, and down through the centuries including the English Civil War, the American Revolution and (both sides of) the American Civil War.

As my Virginian ancestors would put it: sic semper tyrannis

CatoRenasci on August 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

As my Virginian ancestors would put it: sic semper tyrannis

CatoRenasci on August 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

They did put it… on the State flag.

Wino on August 17, 2014 at 10:48 AM

The problem as I see it is that if we disarm the local police of their SWAT equipment, the vacuum will simply invite the federal government to expand DHS with multiple rapid strike forces all controlled from DC. This country is not going to magically go back to the 50s.

claudius on August 17, 2014 at 11:11 AM

And pointing to past riots is also an indication that the police have been FAILING at doing a basic job of understanding their communities and helping to find ways to stem riots off and give other venues for redress of grievances that are civil and will actually get police HELP with doing them.
ajacksonian on August 17, 2014 at 7:27 AM

I think people are arguing because they do not share the same perceptions

I believe police are up against a culture which takes a defensive posture against the external society. Police are the arm of the external society

How are police going to break this lock, when politicians of the same race who try to join the mainstream culture are called traitors. The divide is encouraged by politicians who need disunity in the nation to retain power.

When the punk was stealing cigars he was challenging and threatening a man of a different race and culture. Such power trip role playing is wide spread.

The bully tries to prove that he is not weak. He is fighting his own perception of himself. Perception trumps reality. He is programmed

AA teaches that people must first admit they are alcoholics. Then they must drop friends who are facilitators

It is denial when a looter says looting was justified. The community is the facilitator of the looting

Other facilitators are the dealers, gangsters, politicians, professional agitators, teachers of class envy, and purveyors of dependency.

Police cant fix this as long as the crooked politicians and politically correct organizations, including schools, keep stoking the perceptions that divide

Police are trapped in the middle. They take more abuse than most could handle.

entagor on August 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

The problem as I see it is that if we disarm the local police of their SWAT equipment, the vacuum will simply invite the federal government to expand DHS with multiple rapid strike forces all controlled from DC. This country is not going to magically go back to the 50s.

claudius on August 17, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Wow. Just caught your remark

Was this the plan?

I have been trying to figure out the reason for federal agency mini armies. I have been trying to figure why the WH is giving free armored vehicles and Robocop uniforms to small towns – with no strings attached – unlike most federal largesse

You may have found the answer. Just like Obamacare:

Create a system that causes the public to demand an alternative. Have the alternative waiting in the wings.

I salute you

entagor on August 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Add this: the local police are taking the heat for crowd control

The local police are being called over kill

The coming DOJ actions, or court trial(s) will be used to amplify the idea that local police do not correctly apply force

The riot coverage was controlled and slanted. The court cases will be in the hands of the MSM

claudius on August 17, 2014 at 11:11 AM

I believe this will be a long campaign to impugn local policing with intent to transfer powers to national police

what a day

entagor on August 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM

I believe this will be a long campaign to impugn local policing with intent to transfer powers to national police

what a day

entagor on August 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM

An alternative would be to make a law that all SWAT teams and anti-riot formations would come under the oversight of the federal government. Then the feds could place DHS officials into each police department or regionally if the departments are very small. We’d still have a militarized police force, but then it would be politicized and centralized as well. The Nazis used this tactic to consolidate power in 1933.

claudius on August 17, 2014 at 12:18 PM

I think you guys have nailed it. The way the media and the politicians are playing this is all about drumming up an excuse to centralize more power in Washington.

Never let a crisis go to waste. Any crisis can be utilized to further crush decentralization and liberty.

fadetogray on August 17, 2014 at 12:42 PM

The equipment police have does not bother me. What does bother me is the theory that I’m an enemy-not a citizen. I don’t blame police for protecting themselves, but I will blame them and policy makers if the police in this country morph into a Gendarmerie. We the people are responsible for protecting our own rights.

stuartm650 on August 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Hello Allah and Ed,

If we are to continue the conversation about the larger issue surrounding the Ferguson situation, could you please ask ConstantineXI to write a guest blog based on the following comments in this thread:

ConstantineXI on August 17, 2014 at 8:46 AM
ConstantineXI on August 17, 2014 at 8:52 AM
ConstantineXI on August 17, 2014 at 9:01 AM

I think it went would be a great discussion.

captnjoe on August 17, 2014 at 1:01 PM

The hot topic everywhere seems to be a growing call to halt the so called “militarization” of the nation’s civilian police forces, highlighted by the riot suppression gear on display in Ferguson.

We’re discussing police forces with high-velocity, high-caliber firearms, which are mounted on MRAPs in some cases. Unless there are low level air raids and light armored vehicles being used by “the enemy” there’s no excuse for a cadre of police to be sporting an M2 on an MRAP. That is the militarization being spoken of. Creating a strawman argument that it is “riot suppression gear” that is the supposed “militarization” is innately fallacious. SWAT teams are, without question, going into situations against innocent citizens, or where innocent citizens are integrated, armed and armored better than we are downrange, with less strenuous ROEs. The excuse for that is occassions like the North Hollywood shootout, which still called for neither MRAP, nor M2. Low caliber, high velocity, semi-automatic weapons are all that were needed to deal with that. There is no call for fully automatic, high velocity, high caliber rounds and not a single reason for police to be in possession of those firearms. If “the enemy” is darting about in tanks, it will be the military or national guard dealing with the matter, not SWAT.

Frankly, I find the whole discussion to be a rather rapid rush to judgement and lacking in larger context. As far as the specific incidents in Ferguson go, we still need a lot more information before final conclusions can be drawn.

This statement is odd, as it both verifies the limited occurrence of these matters attempting to provide a basis for defending police having armaments parallel or in excess of most mechanized units abroad, yet calls for more information and no rush to judgment while your final paragraph does exactly that in favor of police armament.

Am I the only one who finds this rather insulting to the nation’s first responders in general?

An employer, pointing out a group of individuals, hired to perform a specific detail, who then overequip and go beyond their purpose is rational, not insulting. If you hire an individual to mow your yard, and that individual acquires and puts into use a chainsaw to begin taking down your trees, you are not out of your purview in telling them they have gone to far. Same thing here. There is a specified purpose and bounds drawn by the rights of individuals via Constitutional, Federal and State statute law. Ergo, if a man is on his private property with no mob near and the cops proceed to fire tear gas at him, they have overstepped their bounds; impinging on his rights. I’ve already pointed out that the excess of armor and quality of firearms are insane for even the most dangerous service of warrant.

As these critics frequently note, police departments in cities and towns of all sizes have been equipped with more modern, military style equipment for quite some time now and they don’t seem to be converting the rest of the nation into a series of oppressive death camps.

Strawman again. The police have no need for the majority of their gains in hardware from GWOT. That means that localities are paying for the purchase and/or upkeep of armaments that are not necessary. What people worry about, quite rightly, is any event in which a martial law situation might be imposed. If law enforcement can level your house without explosives in short order, with basic ammunition alone, there is a legitimate reason to realize that the disparity between those paying for the weapons and those using them needs significant trimming. Essentially, there is no right for the people footing the bill to have any say in how the money is used. Another reason: if a state were to have local legislation change, even for a brief period, to incorporate California like rules concerning firearms? You would see exactly what is happening in California. SWAT raids on private owners and weapons destroyed. Methods of disarming the populace become plentiful when those who are supposed to be protecting are overly armed and armored, invoking supreme tactical superiority and a mental state of dominance to match it.

The old assumptions of law enforcement and their unwritten compact with the citizenry relied on a society where the police – and the laws – were respected, and criminals were a minority who would be rejected by the rank and file residents. But when the majority of an entire community decides to break that compact, the formula changes. They realize that they outnumber – and frequently outgun – the cops.
posted at 10:01 am on August 16, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Ignoring the inane implication that the entire community has risen up, ignoring that individuals are busy protecting their property with firearms because the police will not, please point out any situation where SWAT was outgunned. There’s a large difference between tactical advantage (having a defensible position, having the drop, etc) and being outgunned. There is virtually no situation where riot cops are outgunned, they’re strategically and tactically limited by ROE. One M2 on an MRAP would end any riot. The “outgunned” terminology is a built in strawman. Police are not expected to go Chinese and mow down peaceful protesters; Police are expected to have a strict ROE ensuring the safety of the group, even if threats are present within it. When protesters start using crew served weapons, planting roadside IEDs and driving light armored vehicles? You’ll have an excuse to promulgate that police need to have MRAPs and Browning M2s to respond. When police have to house to house CQB, you’ll have an excuse to promulgate that police need fully automatic SBRs. Until that time, there isn’t much in the way of a rational defense for police having military gear. The only excuse is that they receive it for free. So what is the limitation on that? Apparently there isn’t one, thusfar. That? That’s disturbing, but yes, they are indeed militarized, not “militarized”.

Ebola on August 17, 2014 at 1:48 PM

The only truly inane pundit commentary I’ve seen during this, on the matter of militarization, was complaining that the police department had received two grenade launchers. Apparently they never realized that tear gas is more often shot than lobbed into crowds. Method of delivery changes the game.

Ebola on August 17, 2014 at 1:50 PM

If your need a militarized force, you call in the national guard.

The police are not supposed to be that extreme a measure used first.

By escalating the local law enforcement as such (via thew immediate arrival of armored vehicles and officers in full SWAT costumes, etc.), you psychologically escalate the entire situation right off, when a gradual movement of force escalation keeps things cooler.

Having the police be the same type of militarized force as the national guard short circuits the progression of response.

And can lead to what it purports to prevent: mobs and riots who might never have gathered or turned dangerous had the police not over-reacted and shown too much force in the first instance.

profitsbeard on August 17, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Am I the only one who finds this rather insulting to the nation’s first responders in general?

Bro … read the Declaration of Independence. We fought a revolution and one of the enumerated reasons for it was the King quartering troops amongst civilians.

Now – you can say the cops aren’t “troops” but they have body armor, armored vehicles, helicopters, armor piercing weapons, automatic rifles …

If it walks like a duck … and quacks like a duck …

HondaV65 on August 17, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Jazz equates opposition to militarization (of the police) with opposition to law and order . . . . .

Akzed on August 16, 2014 at 4:13 PM

.
She right in the following regard . . . . . I’m saying that it is an ABSOLUTE AXIOM … that a society that rejects “PUBLIC recognition of God” CAN NOT be a law abiding society.

… It’s … not … possible . . . . . . . . period.

Either you pro-hedonism libertarians ACCEPT … “public recognition of God”, or any notion of ridding ourselves of the “militarized police” is out-the-window.

listens2glenn on August 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM
.

Jazz is male.

I’m a conservative Anglican priest.

Sorry to see that you’re drinking again.

Akzed on August 17, 2014 at 9:15 AM

.
I stand MAJOR LEAGUE corrected on the gender of blogger Jazz Shaw . . . . . ( b l u s h ) … my sincere apologies, Jazz.
.
Apparently, I stand corrected as well, as regards your attitude about “libertarianism”, at least as I define it.
.
But I stick totally with my statement, which is to everyone, in in general, and not yourself exclusively :

. . . . . I’m saying that it is an ABSOLUTE AXIOM … that a society that rejects “PUBLIC recognition of God” CAN NOT be a law abiding society.

… It’s … not … possible . . . . . . . . period.

Either you pro-hedonism libertarians ACCEPT … “public recognition of God”, or any notion of ridding ourselves of the “militarized police” is out-the-window.

listens2glenn on August 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM

listens2glenn on August 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

LOOK. THIS IS A COMPLEX PROBLEM. THERE ARE NO SIMPLE SOLUTIONS. What happen at Ferguson was a CLASSIC FUBAR of the 1st order. At every level leaders panic and made the wrong decision. And now because the Governor ran away, here comes the Obama administration.(motto: Never let a crisis go to waste) This will NOT end well.

flackcatcher on August 17, 2014 at 2:48 PM

flackcatcher on August 17, 2014 at 2:48 PM

There’s nothing complex about militarization. They have weapons and platforms they quite simply do not need and did not need. There’s no reason for a department to have a Barret or Browning .50cal of any cyclic rate. There’s no reason, with ample financial upkeep reasons against, departments having MRAPs. It really is quite simple and so is the fix.

Ebola on August 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Just to put this into numbers, FY09 per vehicle maintenance cost for MRAPs cost nearly $30k/yr on non-military function. MRAPs stateside will see less action, but that is a significant amount of money, even if we just assume a quarter of that amount, before looking at gas consumption, etc. They’re not cheap beasts to field, especially compared to other SWAT vehicles, even if the MRAP is free any others run $140k for initial purchase.

Ebola on August 17, 2014 at 3:21 PM

But I stick totally with my statement, which is to everyone, in in general, and not yourself exclusively :

. . . . . I’m saying that it is an ABSOLUTE AXIOM … that a society that rejects “PUBLIC recognition of God” CAN NOT be a law abiding society.

… It’s … not … possible . . . . . . . . period.

Either you pro-hedonism libertarians ACCEPT … “public recognition of God”, or any notion of ridding ourselves of the “militarized police” is out-the-window. listens2glenn on August 16, 2014 at 4:34 PM

listens2glenn on August 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Your statement should not have been directed to me at all.

Akzed on August 17, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Ebola on August 17, 2014 at 3:21 PM

It really depends what the criminals’ M.O. when it comes to protecting their turf or drug trafficking sites. You’ll be surprised how many spike traps and IEDs (illegal) marijuana growers or moonshiners put down. Spike traps are more common in forested areas like Kentucky, California and North Carolina where growers try to hide marijuana in the undergrowth.

DevilishSoda on August 17, 2014 at 4:13 PM

It is denial when a looter says looting was justified. The community is the facilitator of the looting

Other facilitators are the dealers, gangsters, politicians, professional agitators, teachers of class envy, and purveyors of dependency.

Police cant fix this as long as the crooked politicians and politically correct organizations, including schools, keep stoking the perceptions that divide

Police are trapped in the middle. They take more abuse than most could handle.

entagor on August 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

That part I bolded is an important one that must not be lost. This is a major cultural shift being pushed by institutions, not by civil society. These institutions have the role and responsibility of reinforcing civil society, not teaching morals and ethics contrary to it and demeaning it.

That will not change until Americans either leave these institutions and stop funding them, or demand them to change so that they reinforce the existing culture and not try to leverage a subservient culture on the people. At each and every turn from taxes to census to schools to politics to Hollywood we get the message that America is evil, that Americans are racist and that the rich are looting the poor. America and Americans have had their problems, spilled much blood to correct them and then corrected them and THIS is not the message given out by these institutions that should be reinforcing the values that those past conflicts garnered by the people for the people.

No amount of policing, no amount of militarization, no amount of ammunition will change this. When cops go bad and take part in the divisive message they become part and parcel of the problem as well and then, as an institution, the public must either change or abolish the institution and restart from scratch.

To get better institutions we must be a better people. Yes getting that through the imposed institutional message barriers is difficult. The MFM has taken the side of being against the American people via seeking to divide the people. And yet the people are its very lifeblood and the MFM is dying for lack of people to actually watch the message. The people are leaving the MFM and doing something different, and if we cannot unite to change the institutions then walking away from them, denying them funds and incurring the wrath of tyrants who use our own money against us is what comes next. At that point it is those who seek to build a better community by the civil process that will talk with their neighbors and begin the end of this horror because, by then, this horror will be on the doorstep.

No amount of policing can end the problem.

Taking part in the problem, diverting funds to fancy equipment and not doing the basics of learning the law and law enforcement will not help, but hurt the chances of its survival as an institution. What police can do from the middle is, first and foremost, their JOBS which is to enforce the law and that requires explaining that they are NOT there to repress or otherwise go after a community but to make the community safer by taking out the law breakers who will harm citizens. They can ask for citizens to HELP in that process by being ARMED and RESPONSIBLE for themselves, their loved ones, their property and that police cannot be everywhere at all times. Explain the limitations of the police and that they are ONLY armed citizens with some special powers and responsibilities that they volunteered to take. Citizens ALSO have responsibilities and duties because their elected officials gave them these laws IN THEIR NAME and if they don’t like the laws then CHANGE THEM.

By the time you get to riots you are far, far away from the starting point of law enforcement and have gone down a lot of wrong paths to get there. The problem isn’t at the hind end, the riots, but the head end of being a part of the public, being seen and informing the public that the primary and first responders to any crime is them, as citizens, not the police. That is how the people wanted it through the laws that were passed and that is the only way it can be without being in a tyrannical autocratic State where your papers are asked for at every street corner. That is a major part of policing: admitting the limits of the police. By riots you are already to the need for stormtroopers and, really, that isn’t what police should be, and you only get there by trying to convince everyone to depend ON THEM for safety instead of THEMSELVES.

The police could and should do a lot to start changing this message. Some institutional pushback to save their institution and start changing the ways of the police would then start to bring scrutiny on all the OTHER failing institutions. If the police cannot do this then they, too, will find their institutions on the ‘start from scratch’ chopping block, not because they didn’t try… but because they won’t look at the failures of the institution putting equipment and guns ahead of police work and the law.

ajacksonian on August 17, 2014 at 6:06 PM

So what changed that makes the old ways impossible?

Why can’t we go back to a police that is an ally of the citizenry?

I mean, I’m reading of police forcible entering homes on anonymous “tips” someone was dealing drugs only to find out that it was wrong.

Why not respond to a “tip” by first staking out the home for a couple days to see if there is actual probable cause to believe drug dealing is going on. Then wait until the people inside the home and arrest them when they go to get in their car or something. Why this SWAT the house mentality?

I mean, armed police breaking into your home because of an anonymous tip? That’s secret police type crap.

You are saying that we have to choose between our liberties or our safety.

I am reminded of the words of John Adams: “He who surrenders his freedom to gain a little safety, will soon find that he has neither freedom, nor safety.”

Sackett on August 18, 2014 at 5:19 AM

There are thousands of judges who deserve to be …. let’s just say removed from suspended above the bench.

fadetogray on August 17, 2014 at 9:50 AM

ahem

Why can’t we go back to a police that is an ally of the citizenry?

Sackett on August 18, 2014 at 5:19 AM

FIFY

GWB on August 18, 2014 at 11:45 AM

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