War Gear Flows To Police Departments

 

 

” As the nation’s wars abroad wind down, many of the military’s surplus tools of combat have ended up in the hands of state and local law enforcement. Totals below are the minimum number of pieces acquired since 2006 in a selection of categories.”

MRAPS By State

” Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.

  The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

  During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

  The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.” “

 

 

 

     For all the police talk of the dangers they face and the armament of the criminal element , there is little proof of such assertions . As a matter of fact 2013 saw the fewest law enforcement deaths in over 125 years and that is not because of armored cars .

 

 

” The ubiquity of SWAT teams has changed not only the way officers look, but also the way departments view themselves. Recruiting videos feature clips of officers storming into homes with smoke grenades and firing  automatic weapons . In Springdale, Ark., a police recruiting video is dominated by SWAT clips, including officers throwing a flash grenade into a house and creeping through a field in camouflage.

  In South Carolina, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s website features its SWAT team, dressed in black with guns drawn, flanking an armored vehicle that looks like a tank and has a mounted .50-caliber gun. Capt. Chris Cowan, a department spokesman, said the vehicle “allows the department to stay in step with the criminals who are arming themselves more heavily every day.” He said police officers had taken it to schools and community events, where it was a conversation starter.”

 

 

 

Katherine Mangu-Ward cuts to the heart of the hypocrisy …

 

 

 

” The Times quotes a “more in sorrow than in anger” line from a local police chief:

“I don’t like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions. “We’re not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say ‘Good enough.’ “

 

 

 

    In order to get a better understanding of the risks involved in policing take a look at the statistics provided below regarding work-related fatalities . Keep in mind that the statistics below are for the calendar year 2008 when 147 officers died in the line of duty while during the year 2013 only 100+/- died

 

 

 

OCCUPATIONS MORE DANGEROUS THAN BEING A POLICE OFFICER:

  Number of deaths per 100,000 employed Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics-Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries – 2008

Fishermen: 112.0

Logging workers: 87.0

Aircraft pilots: 67.0

Iron and steelworkers: 45.0

Farmers and ranchers: 38.0

Garbage collectors: 36.8

Roofers: 34.4

Electrical power line installation/repair: 29.8

Truck drivers: 22.8

Oil and gas extraction: 21.9

Police officers and Deputies: 21.4*

Taxi drivers: 19.3

Drinking establishment employees: 17.0

Construction workers: 16.0

Grounds maintenance: 11.9

Welders: 10.5

Electricians: 8.3

Gas station attendant: 7.5

Firefighters: 6.9

Auto mechanics: 5.0

Newspaper publishers: 4.8

Carpenters: 4.7

Janitors: 3.1

Retail sales: 1.5

 

* A high percentage of police officers deaths involve traffic accidents and not wearing a “seat belt.”

 

 

 As a for instance to the above quoted police fatality rate bear in mind that in 2013 105 officers were killed in the line of duty and of those 105 only 30 were shot to death . The balance were killed in traffic accidents and other causes as categorized below by the  Officer Down Memorial Page . Put forth in such stark , simple terms it is obvious that the people have a lot more to fear of the police than the reverse .

 

2013 Line of Duty Deaths: 105

9/11 related illness: 1
Aircraft accident: 1
Automobile accident: 25
Boating accident: 1
Bomb: 1
Drowned: 2
Duty related illness: 1
Electrocuted: 1
Fall: 4
Fire: 1
Gunfire: 30
Gunfire (Accidental): 2
Heart attack: 10
Motorcycle accident: 4
Stabbed: 2
Struck by vehicle: 8
Training accident: 2
Vehicle pursuit: 4
Vehicular assault: 5

 

 

 

FBI

  In many cases of police brutality that the FBI investigates, only a small fraction ever receive indictments, and even fewer result in a conviction. In 1996, the FBI reviewed 10,129 civil rights cases, and only 0.2% were filed for prosecution. The prosecution rate for police abuse cases is less than 1% of those investigated. So even if a complaint makes it to the FBI, it is very unlikely to lead to a conviction. This is a classic scenario of ‘the wolf guarding the fox that’s guarding the hen house.’

  Is it dangerous to be a cop? FBI reports show that in 2000, 51 police officers were killed in the United States. Out of the hundreds of thousands of law enforcement personnel, this means less than 1/10 of 1% are at risk, thereby making law enforcement personnel one of the safest class of citizens in the United States. On the other hand, nearly one in two civilian women in the United States has either been raped, assaulted, or beaten during domestic violence during their lives. Court records show police officers are four (4) times more likely to commit acts of domestic violence, than any other group — however, they rarely are arrested because their friends respond to the scene of the crime.

  According to the Department of Labor, the on-the-job fatality rate for police is lower than that for gardeners, electricians, truck drivers, garbage collectors, construction workers, airline pilots, timber cutters, and commercial fisherman. In fact, fishermen have an occupational fatality rate that is fifteen times higher than that for cops, but rarely do we hear those who provide us with an endless supply of mahi-mahi described as heroes. (See Selling the Police: Reflections on Heroism and Hype in America,Tim Wise “

 

 

   The notion that the police officer’s exposure to danger and life-threatening situations has exploded along with the arming of the criminals and terrorists is to deny the facts .

 

 

 

 

Mangu-Ward continues:

 

 

” And then calls him out on his historical illiteracy:

   Congress created the military-transfer program in the early 1990s, when violent crime plagued America’s cities and the police felt outgunned by drug gangs. Today, crime has fallen to its lowest levels in a generation, the wars have wound down, and despite current fears, the number of domestic terrorist attacks has declined sharply from the 1960s and 1970s.”

 

 

 

 

   The threat of domestic terrorism is another Statist strawman used to justify the militarization of our “peace officers” , remember when the were called that , and again does not stand up to even the most simple scrutiny …

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Here is a link to the Global Terrorism Database where the reader can find the most complete data on both foreign and domestic terrorism with very user-friendly interactive charts and graphics such as the one below that shows beyond doubt that we are safer now than at anytime in the past 50 years from criminals and terrorists at least .

 

 

 

US Terror Attacks

 

 

 

   On the other hand the body count of American citizens dead at the hands of law enforcement continues to grow exponentially …

 

” Almost all police involved shootings, while investigated by special units, prosecutor’s offices, or an outside police agency, were investigated by governmental law enforcement personnel. It is perhaps not surprising that more than 95 percent of all police involved shootings were ruled administratively and legally justified. A handful of cases led to wrongful death lawsuits. Even fewer will result in the criminal prosecution of officers. Critics of the system have called for the establishment of completely independent investigative agencies in cases of police involved shootings.

 

Where People Were Shot

 
     Most Deadly States

     California 183 total (102 fatal)
     Florida 96 (49)
     Illinois 64 (26)
     Texas 58 (26)
     New York 49 (23)
     Pennsylvania 49 (23)
     Ohio 45 (28)
     Arizona 45 (27)
     Maryland 41 (16)
     Washington 39 (29)

 
     Least Deadly States

     Delaware 0
     Vermont 0
     North Dakota 1
     Wyoming 2 (1)
     Alaska 2 (2)
     Montana 3 (2)
     South Dakota 3 (3)
     Hawaii 4 (3)
     Connecticut 6 (1)
     West Virginia 6 (5)
     New Hampshire 6 (5)
     Idaho 7 (2)
     Kansas 7 (5)

 

     Most Deadly Cities

     Chicago 46 total (10 fatal)
     Los Angeles 22 (14)
     Philadelphia 17 (7)
     Las Vegas 17 (15)
     New York City 16 (6)
     Phoenix 15 (10)
     Baltimore 15 (5)
     Columbus, OH 14 (8)
     Atlanta 12 (4)
     St. Louis 11 (3)
     Cleveland 10 (7)
     Miami 10 (6)
     Houston 10 (3)

 
     Least Deadly Cities

     Boston 1
     New Orleans 1 (1)
     Portland, ME 1
     Buffalo 2
     Detroit 2 (1)
     Seattle 2 (1)
     Denver 2 (2)
     Pittsburgh 3 (1)

 

     Cities with High Per Capita Shooting Rates

     Fresno, CA 9 total (4 fatal)
     Tucson, AZ 8 (6)
     Aurora, CO 7 (6)
     Oakland, CA 7 (6)
     San Jose, CA 7 (3)
     Albuquerque, NM 6 (5)
     Mesa, AZ 6 (2)
     Jacksonville, FL 5 (4)
     Syracuse, NY 5 (3)
     Orlando, FL 5 (2)
     N. Miami Beach, FL 5 (2)
     Little Rock, Ark. 5 (1)
     Yakima, WA 4 (1)
     Bakersfield, CA 4 (3)
     Long Beach, CA 4 (2)
     Garden Grove, CA 4 (3)
     Redding, CA 4 (2)”

 

 

 

   It is readily apparent that the most serious risk to the life and limbs of the average citizen in America today comes not from domestic terrorists or even from the average criminal , but from those very “public servants” charged with our protection .

 

Read the entire article at the NY Times

 

 

 

For those interested in further reading on the SWATification of America try these links:

 

 

Local Police And Their SWAT Mentality Are Robbing Us Of Our Liberty

2013 Saw Fewest Law Enforcement Officer Deaths Since 1887 … But Still They Militarize

Some Little Explored Facts About Police Shootings From James Bovard

It Was Only A Matter Of Time … A Video Montage Of Police Abuse

Militarization Of Police: Peace Officers To Storm Troopers – Big Brother Watch

Unconstrained Government Power – As Evidenced By Police Militarization

John Stossel – Police Militarization

More Americans Killed By Police Than Iraqi Insurgents

Militarized Police Is A Concern To ACLU … About Time

John Fund On “The United States Of SWAT?”