Veteran Police Officer Defends Law Enforcement's Use Of Military Vehicles Using Condescension And Baseless Claims

from the that'll-teach-the-stupid-public! dept

If you're like several law enforcement agencies here in the US, there's a good chance you've obtained a heavily-armored vehicle from the Dept. of Defense's 1033 program. Like much of the military equipment obtained through this program (often with the assistance of DHS grants), an MRAP doesn't so much address a need as it creates a problem: new law enforcement tools but nothing to use them for. So, rather than save it for terrorists or active shooters, MRAPS and other military gear are co-opted by SWAT teams or deployed against protesters.

Ignoring much of what has happened over the past several months, 15-year police veteran Steve Rabinovich has posted an article (which is actually more of an advertisement for two tactical training companies) discussing the proper care and feeding of your PD's MRAP.

Now, through the 1033 program, these officers and deputies are prepared to use the proper tools for what threats may come. We all understand that improper and ignorant application of these tools is not only a liability, its deliberate indifference. These trucks feel, drive, and act unlike anything most drivers and teams are used to — to simply put them to use without proper training is asking for people to get hurt or killed.
Rabinovich details this MRAP training, most of which involves handling the heavy, unwieldy vehicles, as well as the unique bonding experience that is advanced tactical training at a "flagship Nebraska facility."
One of the most unique things about this course was the positive attitude and genuine desire to learn which didn’t stop when the class was dismissed. Everything from class topics to shooting positions to medical equipment was discussed around the fire pit under the Nebraska moon.
Moving on. Rabinovich linked to another article from this one, perhaps recognizing that an article unironically attaching an exclamation point to the sentence, "Your agency got a 1033 MRAP!" might be viewed as "tone deaf," at best. In this one, Rabinovich offers three justifications for any law enforcement agency that feels a mine-resistant vehicle is a worthy addition to its fleet of vehicles.
1. Better-equipped and trained police are a better asset to protect and serve their communities.

2. In some quarters, violent anti-government groups and individuals are targeting cops as scapegoats.

3. There has been a steady increase in deadly and violent assaults on cops — as well as acts of domestic and international terrorism — many of which are reported in limited scope or not publicly known.
The "better-equipped" justification is tough to argue with. Arguably, a heavily-armored vehicle is protective but how does it "serve" the community? It's not as though endangered citizens get to shuttle in and out of crime scenes in bulletproof vehicles. The argument rests on the assumption that a more well-protected police force is a net win for the community. Maybe it is, but Rabinovich doesn't bother connecting those dots.

Better training is also an essential part of protecting and serving the community. But how does the acquisition of an MRAP better train police? Rabinovich doesn't explore this logical dead end any further, so it's left up to the audience to make its own assumptions.

"Violent anti-government groups" is a very recent talking point, one used to paint government accountability groups as "violent," using a very broad brush in hopes of destroying the credibility of Peaceful Streets or Cop Block. Rabinovich further cheapens this by portraying these groups as "scapegoating" police officers, but once again fails to clarifiy his choice of words. Nothing further is written that explains why these officers are being "scapegoated" and Rabinovich doesn't even bother to given any examples of this "targeting."

The last argument is just as awful as the first two but has the additional feature of being factually wrong. Police work isn't becoming increasingly dangerous, even with the supposed corresponding uptick in "domestic and international terrorism." Rabinovich must know this assertion won't hold up because he adds the ridiculous claim that attacks on cops are ignored by much of the media or never reported at all. The exact opposite is the truth. In addition, the number of officers killed or wounded by civilians is a stat tracked by nearly every law enforcement agency. Civilians killed or wounded by police officers are stats tracked by amateurs, despite the fact that the Dept. of Justice has ordered these numbers to be reported annually -- an order that has been mostly ignored for the last thirteen years.

Rabinovich offers these terrible justifications and follows it up with this:
If these are the trucks being given away, these are the truck being implemented into law enforcement service. If someone thinks their tax dollars are better served letting these assets rust away or be given to foreign armies, maybe their cash is greener than yours or mine.
If you're against police militarization then you must be for wasting tax dollars and arming foreigners. It's that simple. You could not be any less of an American.

But what Rabinovich thinks we shouldn't do with excess military equipment is exactly what we do with excess military equipment. We don't hand off tanks to police departments just because the only other options are the scrapyard or an overseas army. We shouldn't be doing this with other military gear either. Law enforcement agencies don't need mine-resistant vehicles, assault rifles and grenade launchers. Law enforcement has existed without all three for several decades, including years when being a cop was much more dangerous than it is now. These justifications are nothing more than the cheapest of rationlizations.

Filed Under: 1033, intimidation, militarization, military equipment, mraps, police, police militarization


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  • icon
    hij (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:00am

    I ain't no Senator's son

    As a taxpayer with an opinion I prefer not to be referred to as a "threat." He seeems to have forgotten the second word in "public servant."

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:04am

    "If these are the trucks being given away, these are the truck being implemented into law enforcement service. If someone thinks their tax dollars are better served letting these assets rust away or be given to foreign armies, maybe their cash is greener than yours or mine."

    Perhaps we should demand that our tax dollars are not being wasted on generating military equipment that our military doesn't need/want/desire.

    Perhaps Mr. ToneDeaf also missed the several veterans who pointed out that many police officers are better outfitted than those on the actual frontlines of ACTUAL military operations.

    The simple fact that this idiot is allowed to pretend that regular citizens represent as large a threat as armed fighters in the multiple battles around the globe should be a wake up call. While many of us regular citizens are tired of the ZOMG TERRORISTS! battle cry, he represents the mindset of believing all of the lies... the very big difference being is he sees those he is charged with protecting and serving as threats.

    When you can no longer tell the 'good guys' from the 'bad guys' you are in a position where you should no longer be allowed to make split second decisions that far to often result in the deaths of innocent people. The default position is they are all threats, police are always in danger, and the proper response is to end that threat with a maximum of "safety" for officers which results in a growing bodycount of people who sometimes just didn't act fast enough to appease an armed occupying force with lots of new toys and a burning desire to use them at the first possible chance.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:21am

      Re:

      "a growing bodycount of people who sometimes just didn't act fast enough to appease an armed occupying force"

      Or acted too fast. Remember that video from a couple weeks ago where the guy got shot for being took quick to turn around and reach into his car to grab his wallet in response to a police officer's request?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 11:16am

      Re:

      "If these are the trucks being given away, these are the truck being implemented into law enforcement service. If someone thinks their tax dollars are better served letting these assets rust away or be given to foreign armies, maybe their cash is greener than yours or mine."

      Perhaps we should demand that our tax dollars are not being wasted on generating military equipment that our military doesn't need/want/desire.


      The problem is that it is our elected representatives telling the military that they want more of these then they actually need because the factory that makes them is in his constituency and he'll get elected next time for keeping his citizens employed building stuff we don't need.

      Perhaps Mr. ToneDeaf also missed the several veterans who pointed out that many police officers are better outfitted than those on the actual frontlines of ACTUAL military operations.

      It costs more to send this stuff overseas where we will eventually just leave them for the countries we use them in to use. Much easier to ship them to Hicktown, USA than to a foreign country. And so much the better that the actual citizens get to see what their tax dollars are going to, regardless to whether they are in front of these weapons or not.

      In all seriousness though, I agree. There is a fundamental shift away from community policing and towards an "us-vs-them" mentality that most police departments seem to be adopting. All in the name of "War on Drugs/War on Terrorism." If we stopped calling them "Wars" (and got rid of a few of them, ala War on Drugs,) we'd be a lot safer since wars involve two enemy combatants and when you are considered an enemy combatant even when you aren't doing anything wrong/illegal/aggressive, then everyone loses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Nov 2014 @ 5:31pm

        Re: Re:

        We live in a country where parents were buying flakjackets for their deployed children, because none were made available to them. Meanwhile, very similar materials were being given to cops 'on the front lines'.
        While it might seem wasteful to ship them overseas, I worry more about a private in a firefight for his life than an overzealous SWAT cosplayer rolling up in an MRAP to serve a warrant over some leaves in the yard.

        The public is part of the problem, we keep voting in the mindless bought out morons who demand that we waste billions for material the military has no need or want of. The upside is this blind 'vote the soundbite' pattern now is coming home to roost. In another 5 years more voters might even understand that perhaps they needed to demand more than the right answers to abortion & gun questions. As more bodies pile up, it will become harder for them to try and pretend that it doesn't effect them.

        Perhaps it would be best to limit the use of the word war to actual wars. Terrorists are not at war with us, war is what nation states do to each other... not bob from down the street getting mad about the dog crapping in his yard.

        The response to terrorism had failed simply because they can not think outside the box of war, they are so fing shocked when the terrorists ignore the Geneva Conventions.
        The war on drugs was failing until we managed to train them in military tactics to use against us, and one wonders how many of them are toting surplus material we created to appease a congresscritter.

        The Us v Them plan is doing exactly what it is meant to do with the police forces. They are lining up armed enforcers to make sure the citizens don't speak out for fear of what will happen if you do not embrace the motherland.

        What poor little frogs we are, just swimming around not noticing how hot the water is getting.

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  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:06am

    All Rabinovich is missing from his muse is he didn't say "think about the children" and "the word terrorism as justifications.

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  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:16am

    This is just some trade magazine article and has no bearing on policy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:36am

      Re:

      but it reveals what it going on inside that trade.
      The thinking and thoughts that lead to people being executed in the name of offer safety.
      It is a disturbing look in the thinking of those who protect and serve, and how little they care about the law.

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  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:18am

    "There has been a steady increase in deadly and violent assaults on cops — as well as acts of domestic and international terrorism — many of which are reported in limited scope or not publicly known."
    Oh, so there's all sorts of terrorists and cop killers running amok, but we just don't know about them and probably never will? Seems very convenient.
    Anyone reminded of the NSA? "We've stopped lots of terror attacks and they weren't reported because we stopped them and everything is classified so we have no proof but we're the government so just trust us, OK?"

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:21am

    Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

    So using all of this stuff on innocent people has no justification when the violent crime rate continues to drop! Why are you gearing up more and more for something that happens less and less often? You are not doing normal police work anymore by walking the streets and looking for crimes, instead you are acting like little dictatorships, sucking up the electronic communications of your people. Your associates get a free hand to break numerous laws every day not the least of which is speeding, but if anyone who doesn't belong to the exclusive club is pulled over, they are automatically guilty of something and you are determined to find it. There is also a sever double standard when it comes to police dogs being considered a member of the police family and crimes for injuring it are as bad as attacking a person. On the other hand, some cops like Detective Brendan Kiefer have shot 14 dogs since 2011 with no repercussions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:33am

    Two can play at the ridiculous false dichotomy.
    Either you're for demilitarizing the police or you're for Hitler.

    Bonus double whammy brought to you by Godwin. When your arguments need that extra bit of Nazi spice, think Godwin.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:39am

      Re:

      Officer Safetypants' obligatory repsonse:

      "You know who supported the demilitarization of the Nazis? Stalin! You're not a dirty commie, are you?"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:50am

    should be ashamed to come out with this baseless shit! those pieces of military equipment should not be part of a police stations hardware and should not be used against the public, ever!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    musterion (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:57am

    Better Training

    I think better training is not about superior tactical ability, but understanding the laws in you own state and community. It seems all too often the police are more concerned about "controlling the situation" than respecting the laws. I recall seeing several videos on youtube and the like where the officers involved don not their own state laws. One example recently was in Ohio where an officer got upset that a driver who was pulled over and had a concealed carry license did not say anything to the officer about being unarmed. The law clearly states that you have a duty to inform only if you are carrying concealed. Since the driver was not carrying concealed, he had no duty to inform.

    There are far too many videos of officers trying to intimidate citizens video recording officers in public when it is well known that this is perfectly legal.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 3:49pm

      Re: Better Training

      I think better training is not about superior tactical ability, but understanding the laws in you own state and community.
      Qualified immunity depends on an officer's behavior conforming to that of what would be expected of an average "reasonable" member of the law enforcement community. The lower the understanding of the legal system among LEOs in general, the lower the bar is set for the granting of immunity. This, of course, means greater leeway for violating people's rights without repercussion.

      Ignorance of the law isn't just a valid excuse for cops, it's a weapon.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:57am

    and maintenance?

    How many police cars get sidelined keeping an mrap operational? Or do you take from personnel budget instead and just not hire 3 or 4 more officers?

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  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:10am

    I am sure Mr.Hoeppner, the 75 yr old senior who had the Marathon County sheriff's SWAT team and their armored vehicle show up on his door step to collect an unpaid series of fines totaling around 80k might not agree with Rabinovich on how these are used an deployed.

    Nor I am sure would the folks in Ferguson, Mo., which focused attention on the growing militarization of local law enforcement particularly the use by even very small police departments of surplus armored military vehicles.

    I think most people that saw these tactics and use of equipment in these situations as to how much the policing model has gone to the wrong side of equation.

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  • icon
    Christopher (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:14am

    Boo hoo, again.

    The armchair experts of law enforcement come out again to deride a legitimate use of machinery for the protection of others, because oh no, camouflaged steel!

    ... so if one rolled up during an active shooter call, and parked it right outside a first-floor window to provide an armored cover for escaping people, you'd what, have a problem with that?

    You're only problem is that the use cases are being cherry-picked from the news to make yourselves look good, because the most likely use case is the one I just showed you, and my bet is it never occurred to you.


    -C

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    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:50am

      Re: Boo hoo, again.

      Police in a free and open society should not be wandering around like soldier wannabes. That's hostile to the people and the police simply don't have the discipline or training for it.

      Cops are CIVILIANS.

      They just have a big head.

      They get away with this crap in poor non-white communities because those people think they can't fight back. This crap goes over less in other places because this still is a free society and a real backlash can occur.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:57am

      Re: Boo hoo, again.

      Except that's not what these vehicles are used for -- mostly because by the time they could actually get to such a situation, it's all over. And even if they do make it there before things are resolved, they're not much help: potential victims have either (a) sheltered in place, in which case no method of evacuation is likely necessary nor is it likely to work (b) escaped on their own without any help or (c) been shot and killed. The value of an armored vehicle in such situations is marginal, at best. The only real purpose of showing up with one is protect the cringing, cowering police officers who are afraid to risk taking a bullet for a member of the public.

      It didn't used to be that way. Police officers used to have courage, intelligence, street savvy and connection to the community they served -- all of which combined to give them the ability to take risks on behalf of the public that they're sworn to serve and protect. But with every armored vehicle, every face shield, every assault weapon, every violation of basic Constitutional rights, they've eroded that. The average cop now is on an ethical par with a gang member: a corrupt, vicious, stupid, violent, dishonest, cowardly, bullying thug.

      Which is not only a dishonor to all those men and women who came before and served the public well, but dysfunctional for society as a whole.

      As we see in Ferguson, where police are behaving as if they were an occupying military force rather than vigorously upholding and defending the Constitutional right of the people to peaceably assemble. Note that the last week has seen the arrival of additional combat vehicles, stockpiles of ammunition and of illegal chemical weapons, assault weapons, sound weapons, and telecommunications disruption equipment designed to silence reporters, streamers and bloggers. This isn't policing. This is the systematic isolation and extermination of dissident thought.

      And that is what these vehicles are being used for. Not for rare, isolated instances of heroic rescues -- most of whose accounts are inflated by a fawning press eager to curry favor with The Authorities. But for the everyday suppression and intimidation of citizens.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:06am

      Re: Boo hoo, again.

      You're only problem is that the use cases are being cherry-picked from the news to make yourselves look good, because the most likely use case is the one I just showed you, and my bet is it never occurred to you.

      Your only problem (other than grammar, likely fostered by a double-digit IQ) is that you can't cite a single news source that can report on one of these vehicles being used in the way you describe.

      My bet is that proving your bullshit never occurred to you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ottermaton (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 9:34am

      Re: Boo hoo, again.

      Don't even listen this shithead trying to pretend he advocates the "use of machinery for the protection of others" because he's already proven his propensity for and love of violence, eg: beatings with sticks and punches to the face

      This is the guy that that makes all cops look bad (not that they need any help).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 3:54pm

      Re: Boo hoo, again.

      "You're only problem is that the use cases are being cherry-picked from the news to make yourselves look good, because the most likely use case is the one I just showed you, and my bet is it never occurred to you."

      No, we couldn't possibly have thought of that scenario because we're not cops right? Just dumb citizens...

      If this was the "most likely use case" we'd have heard all about it each time, and you'd be able to present news reports to back up your conjecture. In fact the whole backlash against police use of military equipment could easily be diffused by enough stories like that. But that hasn't happened, most likely because your scenario hasn't happened either. And we're all quite happy about the fact that the number of incidents that could actually justify the use of a police MRAP is minuscule.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 4:01pm

      Re: Boo hoo, again.

      You're only problem is that the use cases are being cherry-picked from the news to make yourselves look good, because the most likely use case is the one I just showed you...
      I think most of us prefer items cherry-picked from the news to hypotheticals you pulled out of your ass.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:28am

    No, just wondering why my tax dollars provided an excess of MRAP vehicles.

    How about they are stationed at National Guard bases or put into military use where actually needed. Because the odds of the Terminator firing a rocket launcher at you while you just happen to be cruising around in your cop MRAP are slim to none.

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  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:40am

    The voice of authoritarianism

    "If it's good for the enforcers then it's good for the community by definition."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:44am

    "... attacks on cops are ignored by much of the media or never reported at all. "

    How did he say that with a straight face? Must be a compulsive liar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      By attacks on police, he means when they break a bone when punching you into a coma.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 2:17pm

      Re:

      "... attacks on cops are ignored by much of the media or never reported at all. "

      How did he say that with a straight face?

      Perhaps cops just have as little trust in mainstream media as the rest of us and don't bother to read newspapers or watch the 6:00 propa ... er, news reports.

      I just wish cops would be peace officers again, and not imagine every street with a black or chicano living in it is a war zone, and that they're trained for war. A sense of proportion would be good too. Firemen are in much more danger than cops are every time they're called out! If a burning building falls on your head, they may not even find your body.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:26am

    I see a problem here:

    In some quarters, violent anti-government groups and individuals are targeting cops as scapegoats.

    How would hiding in a heavily armed vehicle make cops less suitable as scapegoats?

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  • identicon
    x, 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:29am

    Threats?

    So law enforcement agencies want to be prepared to fight off armies that want to invade their town?

    That is the job for the military.

    What an idiot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:51am

      Re: Threats?

      "That is the job for the military."

      I suspect that his view is so corrupted that he thinks that the police are and should be a kind of military force. He ignores the fact that when the police have this role, it puts them in a position where they are adversaries to the public, not partners.

      Remember the day when the police were intentionally different from the military in both goals and tactics? I do. I remember that the entire argument for the creation of SWAT teams was that military tactics were required in order to handle heavily armed drug cartels, but nobody wanted the police themselves to become a military force, so a special unit was created to do it instead.

      Now, apparently, that thinking has gone completely out the window. The cops want to be soldiers, and both cops and the general public will suffer badly for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 4:15pm

      Re: Threats?

      So law enforcement agencies want to be prepared to fight off armies that want to invade their town?
      Of course they don't want to fight off invading armies. They want get rid of the armies already occupying their towns, otherwise known as "citizens."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:48am

    total bullshit

    The argument that these military surplus armored vehicles would otherwise need to be sold for scrap metal or given away for free to some 3rd world military is, quite frankly, complete bullshit.

    Many countries across the globe are in the process of buying or building their own MRAPS. Russia, for instance, plans to stockpile a fleet of them, and has several new models on order, which by amazing coincidence just happen to look exactly like the American-made vehicles.

    http://www.military-today.com/apc/spm_3.htm

    So instead of giving them away to every small-town police department looking for a new toy, why not just sell all these surplus US military vehicles to Russia ... or China ... or any other country that's clamoring to get some?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 8:53am

      Re: total bullshit

      "why not just sell all these surplus US military vehicles to Russia ... or China ... or any other country that's clamoring to get some?"

      The manufacturers of these things want to do both. Sell the existing stock to the cops and the proceeds from those sales can be used to buy new equipment for the US military. At the same time, sell new equipment to other nations.

      It's win-win!! Unless you aren't a member of the military-industrial complex, of course. Then screw you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 9:25am

        Re: Re: total bullshit

        That makes sense. By keeping these surplus vehicles off the world markets, it keeps prices much higher for the new ones the military-industrial complex plans to sell internationally.

        Not unlike the Iraq strategy, in which all military equipment in the country was destroyed after the 2003 invasion ... and then all-new equipment was ordered to replace what was destroyed.

        To any normal person, it seems like madness. But this "madness" makes money, tons of it, for the ever-lucrative MIC.

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  • identicon
    me, 10 Nov 2014 @ 9:07am

    it misses the point

    THEY are as much a threat as anything else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 9:09am

    ...Wow.

    If this is a veteran, no wonder the police forces are militarised.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 9:44am

    There is a second issue which I just heard about, but could be confirmed.
    As part of the agreements that come with this military equipment is a use it or lose it clause.
    If the Department wants to keep the equipment, it must be used a certain amount of times per year.
    And if they do not, they must return the equipment, and they are not eligible to get new equipment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      Equipment must be maintained in good working order, at the local police department's own expense, since it is basically "on loan" from the feds and can be recalled at any time and given to someone else (at least in theory).

      A big problem with these armored vehicles, especially the early ones, is that they were designed in a hurry, slapped together and shipped off to Iraq without adequate testing. In many cases, the vehicle's suspension and drivetrain were overloaded far beyond what these components were originally designed to handle. As such, breakdowns were frequent and repair was expensive.

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  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 11:11am

    "What Threats May Come"

    Ah yes, the 1998 heart-wrenching fantasy drama where Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr travel the afterlife in their government issued MRAP, leaving a swath of devastation in their wake. They travel to Hell and back with little issue as even the fires of damnation cannot breach their armor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard Fitzwell (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 2:11pm

    "Free" MRAPs

    http://wp.me/p31sf8-H4

    “…free,” ? Not so much. First: now you have to send one or two of the city mechanics to the MRAP maintenance school and a couple of personnel to the operators school. There are plenty to choose from: 5 US corporations (BAE, GD, FPI, Navistar, Oshkosh) , in five separate states, (with 10 Senators and and least 5 different Representatives, and 5 Governors all love them some MRAP. Yes sir.)

    Lets see:

    Maintenance (per year): ~ $14,285.00
    Spare parts (per year): ~ $14,642.00
    Consumables (per year): ~ $19,285.00
    Gas and Oil (per year): ~ $ 2,124.00
    Training expense: ~ $ 7,142.00

    Total per year for “Free”: ~ $57,478.00

    Kiss my tired tax-paying ass….free.

    (reference for costs at link: http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA536424)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard Fitzwell (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 2:20pm

    University of Texas Police to Request DoD 2nd-Hand Apache Attack Helicopter and a few spare F-16s

    http://wp.me/p31sf8-15v

    When asked by CBS news about having surplus military hardware, Director of Police Michael Heidingsfield said:

    “I am required to protect and serve the University of Texas System. I ought to employ and have in my repertoire every possible tool. ….. but If I don’t have it and we need it, I’ve not made the right decision.”

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 3:52pm

      Re: University of Texas Police to Request DoD 2nd-Hand Apache Attack Helicopter and a few spare F-16s

      Now that's chutzpa. But what a piker! Doesn't he know about ICBMs and neutron bombs, or is that next year's request?

      This is Texas though, so this should be expected.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 2:43pm

    Upgrade time!

    So now we will need to do some upgrading. RPGs to LAWs, pickups to Abrams, and drones to ICBMs. These protests are going to get expensive but parity is important. Do the cops really want to go there? Seems so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 3:39pm

    it is always instructive to remember:

    that when you look at Empire's actions predicated on what 99% of us *hope* it is predicated upon: the greatest good for the greatest number, you will always be disappointed...

    however, if you look at the militarization of the police as the next step in implementing their total authoritarian wet dream, *THEN* it makes perfect (eee-vil) sense...

    The They(tm) have been prepping for some time now, and us simpleton sheeple just chew our cud and watch the world go by...

    Empire must fall.
    the sooner the fall,
    the gentler for all...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2014 @ 4:31pm

    One simple rule that would stop police militarization dead: qualification for 1033 requires 100% adoption of body and dash cams by the applicant's officers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 5:00pm

      Re:

      "Whoops, seems I forgot to turn the dash cam on when I started my shift..."

      "Whoops, I seem to have banged into something, and the body-cam was knocked offline as a result..."

      "Whoops, it seems the in-house database containing the dash and body cam footage just suffered a technical problem that corrupted all the footage, and right before an important case too..."

      "I'm terribly sorry citizen, but due to 'National Security: Because Terrorists!(tm)' and 'officer safety' concerns, we are forced to deny your request for a copy of the footage covering the incident you describe. Also the data you seek was corrupted due to a mechanical failure. And our dog ate it."

      And so on.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 10 Nov 2014 @ 6:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Ha! We didn't tell you it's automatically streamed to Amazon, and there's a hidden camera we didn't tell you about to catch you if you screw with it. That's already on YouTube. You thought we were kidding? Spread 'em mofo. You're busted!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2014 @ 8:06pm

        Re: Re:

        I admit I was using a hypothetical idealized camera tech that couldn't be circumvented. But still, what bothers me is that PDs can get Federal grants for half-million dollar MRAPs and then pay $30K/yr. for maintenance, but still claim that camera systems are too expensive and hard to administer to be worth the expense.

        At least tying a video hardware requirement to the "fun stuff that blows shit up" shopping list of weapons the cops want to play with would get us past the "we can't afford cameras" hurdle. It's hard to force cops to use recording equipment properly until they actually have it.

        All that being said, I'm not naïve enough to believe there's a snowball's chance in hell it'd ever happen.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Nov 2014 @ 5:06am

    1. Better-equipped and trained police are a better asset to repress and brutalize their communities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeremiah, 11 Nov 2014 @ 6:13am

    Extremism

    "2. In some quarters, violent anti-government groups and individuals are targeting cops as scapegoats."

    I think Bobby Kennedy figured out what the real threat to America was:
    "What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 11 Nov 2014 @ 1:34pm

    When so few people vote that points towards the fact that a majority sees the government as being illegitimate. Numerically it is. With 37% turnout and some races being close that means 20% affirmatively approve of the people in charge. 20% of eligible voters that is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 12 Nov 2014 @ 12:43am

    A tiny truth might have lent this BS some credence.

    But Rabinovich didn't bother to include even the tiniest of truths. He, or his trainer really thinks the public is utterly stupid.

    "1. Better-equipped and trained police are a better asset to protect and serve their communities."

    Better "militarily" equipped and "militarily" trained police are better able to arrest and kill members of their communities.

    The military does not make "Weapons of Mass Serving, or Mass Protecting". All military gear is designed to protect the users of that gear and to kill everyone else.

    ---

    "2. In some quarters, violent anti-government groups and individuals are targeting cops as scapegoats."

    100% purest bullshit. RoboCop Dreams.

    Public support of police has definitely dropped drastically and the public is less respectful of the "pigs" now, true, but that is due entirely to the actions of the police - which has worsened yearly for decades and has reached this new peak of military preparedness against a nearly unarmed public.

    Had any acts of "targeting cops as scapegoats" actually taken place anywhere in the USA, the press would be all over it and the government would be screaming about it from the rooftops. This sort of activity would solidify the "need" for bigger budgets for cops and anti-terrorist groups.

    ---

    "3. There has been a steady increase in deadly and violent assaults on cops — as well as acts of domestic and international terrorism — many of which are reported in limited scope or not publicly known."

    I wondered why almost all the TV Cop shows seemed to have the same plot recently - you know the plot where villains get out of jail and immediately attack the arresting cop in an attempt to get revenge.

    Real criminals are far too interested in making money, and revenge is an expensive and non-profit activity.

    This is actually part 2 of the "targeting cops as scapegoats" bullshit, and Rabinovich let the cat out of the bag by adding that attacks on cops and terrorist attacks "are reported in limited scope or not publicly known."

    As above, this sort of activity is exactly what is needed by the Feds to get public support of bigger budgets for the cops and anti-terrorist activities and would be spread far and wide and continuously by the press.

    Mister Rabinovich is a liar of the first water, because he is in a position to actually know that this is all bullshit.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AC, 12 Nov 2014 @ 3:28pm

    There are bigger concerns . . .

    I'm more concerned about the violent, increasingly heavily armed, anti-citizen groups: the police.

    I really don't want people that failed an IQ test as a condition of employment, having access to military vehicles, weapons, or other equipment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 12 Nov 2014 @ 7:21pm

    He who has the Gold....

    "I really don't want people that failed an IQ test as a condition of employment, having access to military vehicles, weapons, or other equipment."

    Sadly, its no longer a matter of what you or any of the public might want. Its now entirely a matter of what the Ownership Society, also called the 1%, want, and they want protection from all the sheep they're shearing to the bone - you and the rest of the public.

    You want to have a say in how things are done?

    Get filthy stinking rich.

    It does not matter how you do this, only that you succeed. Once you're at the top of the ladder, you'll no longer be at the mercy of the law and nobody will ever question how you made your money.

    In fact, you can write a novel about how you made your millions from selling dolls made of cardboard and rags on the street corner wearing only a torn cotton jacket, no shoes, and greasy cut-off jean shorts all year round, year after year, and it will be accepted as gospel because your rich.

    Of course, once you're accepted as a member of the Ownership Society, you'll want the same thing as the rest of the 1% do, since you'll be busy robbing the public in order to turn each of your dollars into three dollars, over and over again, forever, just like the rest of the 1%.

    But at least then you'll be happy and thankful that the cops are as stupid as rocks, evil as Satan's Anus and loyal only to money and those who have it.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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