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Cops or soldiers? America’s police have become too militarised

Mar 22nd 2014 | The Economist

FROM the way police entered the house—helmeted and masked, guns drawn and shields in front, knocking down the door with a battering ram and rushing inside—you might think they were raiding a den of armed criminals. In fact they were looking for $1,000-worth of clothes and electronics allegedly bought with a stolen credit card. They found none of these things, but arrested two people in the house on unrelated charges.

They narrowly avoided tragedy. On hearing intruders break in, the homeowner’s son, a disabled ex-serviceman, reached for his (legal) gun. Luckily, he heard the police announce themselves and holstered it; otherwise, “they probably would have shot me,” he says. His mother, Sally Prince, says she is now traumatised.

Gary Mikulec, chief of the Ankeny, Iowa police force, which raided Ms Prince’s home in January, said that the suspects arrested “were not very good people”. One had a criminal history that included three assault charges, albeit more than a decade old, and on his arrest was found to have a knife and a meth pipe.

It is easy to see why the police like to be better armed than the people they have to arrest. They risk their lives every day, and are understandably keen to get home in one piece. A big display of force can make a suspect think twice about pulling a gun. “An awful lot of SWAT tactics are focused on forcing the suspect to surrender,” says Bill Bratton, New York’s police chief.

But civil libertarians such as Radley Balko, the author of “Rise of the Warrior Cop”, fret that the American police are becoming too much like soldiers. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams (ie, paramilitary police units) were first formed to deal with violent civil unrest and life-threatening situations: shoot-outs, rescuing hostages, serving high-risk warrants and entering barricaded buildings, for instance. Their mission has crept.

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http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21599349-america...

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Bubba Clinton said he would put 100,000 new cops in service

That began the federalization of all police forces. Most cities did not hire additional cops but they took the Federal money with the "strings" attached.
I know of many small Texas towns with populations of 12,000 or less that now have SWAT teams. Can you imagine that back in the 70`s or mid 80`s ?

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people that pay no price for being wrong.
Thomas Sowell

WTF do you think so many of

WTF do you think so many of them did "for a living" prior to becoming cops? You honored them and now they arrest you. Have a nice day now

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good things is my religion. Thomas Paine, Godfather of the American Revolution

Most Americans are unaware

That for the last decade all new hire LEO's have come mainly from the armed services ( Marines and Army ).

These new LEO's come with excess baggage, PTSD, and an aptitude for tyrannical behaviors justified by years overseas in unrighteous wars. In general, these people are unstable to begin with because of their military experience.

Stēkō

Drew, by the very grace of GOD through the blood of Christ Jesus.
"there shall come after us men whom shall garner great wealth using our system, and having done so shall seek to slam the door of prosperity behind them." George Washington

Soldiers actively engaged in combat against civilians.

There is clearly a war underway, and the state's tactics rely overwhelmingly on terrorism.

Dubya once defined terrorists this way: "They hate our freedom."

Well said, Mr. Former President, and how astute!

Generally speaking, no one hates our freedom--and employs violence as a means to destroy it--more so than our own government and "law enforcement" personnel.

IMO, they are all too often the closest thing to *real* domestic terrorists threatening our safety and security these days.

(Thanks for the post!)

What would the Founders do?

Training has changed from Peace Officers to

Police Officers.