Saturday, July 26, 2014

Unhealthy obesessions with homeland security and military hardware

Homeland security has become an obsession at some law enforcement agencies.

Seriously, what do they think is coming their way?

A massive military build-up is underway right here in Tennessee. 
Local law enforcement agencies are snatching up huge amounts of weapons -- from the Department of Defense -- used in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
Items include grenade launchers, mine-resistant vehicles and guns that have been deemed as surplus by the Pentagon. 
The equipment is cheap or free for local law enforcement agencies to acquire. 
The federal program has fueled a debate about the militarization of our police departments...
The federal government and local law enforcement use the touted tale of "surplus equipment" to justify the militarization of local policing agencies. But America never saw such a need after past conflicts, at least not of the scope or scale we're seeing.

After World War II, Uncle Sam saw no need to disperse half tracks or Sherman tanks to local agencies. Nor were local police clamoring for them.

Simple implements, things like small arms or body armor, might make sense. But equipping our local police as combat style assault teams, ready to launch their assaults from mine-resistant armored vehicles, makes no sense at all, except in what may be a few very rare exceptions.

A while back, I came across a post World War II memorandum to local law enforcement from then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Even at the height of America's 'red scare' era, Hoover's advice to law enforcement was to not give in to fear or exaggeration. Hoover asked America's local cops to embrace America's tradition of law enforcement restraint, putting emphasis on community values.

I'll have to dig around to see if I still have a copy of the Hoover memorandum. If I find it, I'll post it.

H/T: David Codrea for his recent reference to the Nashville story

No comments:

Post a Comment