Another Frightening Example of Cops Dressing Like Soldiers

Take a look at the group in the image below and guess which branch of the military they below to.


Marines? Nope. Army Rangers? Nope. These are Michigan cops who graduated from Emergency Support Team 11th Basic School.

The picture was mentioned yesterday by Washington Post blogger Radley Balko, who published a post on the image after it appeared in a tweet from the Michigan Department of State Police and was retweeted by Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

The original tweet has been deleted from the @MichStatePolice Twitter account. 

From Balko:

There are good reasons for state police agencies to have SWAT teams. In fact, it’s far preferable for a well-funded, well-trained, full-time SWAT team from a state police outpost to respond to emergency situations than for every small town in America to have a SWAT team of its own. (Typically, most places have both.) But until Canadian troops start marching on the Upper Peninsula, it’s hard to envision a scenario under which state troopers would need to don camouflage uniforms, face paint and ghillie hats.

Even if one could fathom such a scenario or two, it’s also regrettable that this is the face the Michigan State Police want to project to the public. These guys aren’t the military. Their mission is not to annihilate a foreign enemy on a battlefield. They’re domestic police officers who serve the residents of Michigan. Their mission is to protect the constitutional rights of those residents. It’s important that they, our elected officials and we all know and appreciate the difference.

More from Reason on the militarization of police here.

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  • Meerkatx||

    When for all intents and purposes you are a soldier it can only lead reasonable people to believe that our police forces see the average every day person as an enemy to be kept subjugated and or terrorized.

  • Aresen||

    But until Canadian troops start marching on the Upper Peninsula, ...

    And if they do, just drop a coupons for the nearest outlet mall in their path and they will disperse immediately.

  • Sudden||

    Or build Tim Horton's. It will be successful in way that the Maginot Line's architect's only dreamed of.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    Hell, that would stop the conflict entirely, as far as I would be concerned!
    I'd be too busy scrounging for Timbits to fight.

  • The Last American Hero||

    They aren't coming for our donuts, they are coming for access to hospitals.

  • Paul.||

    Gads... then they're already here!

  • Drake||

    A couple of caches of Labatt's will stop them in their tracks.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Or have everyone in the UP have an impromtu yard sale.

  • ||

    I saw someone make a comment here the other day that since posse comitatus bars deployment of the military on domestic soil, the police are being turned into a domestic military force. Now, I don't think that that's being done consciously (there's no person or group of people specifically doing this by design), but that it's a logical outcome of the growth of our government. Just like the Education Dept. has SWAT teams, as the government desires more and more control over the people, it needs more and more militaristic footsoldiers to exert that control. And so the domestic police resemble the military more and more, because their purpose is ceasing to be "protect and serve" (as much as it ever was) and much more pacification and CONTROL.

  • Tim||

    You've got combat vets matriculating into police forces after leaving service so they bring the methods with them. It's a macho culture and they like all the warrior images and ego bullshit.

  • GroundTruth||

    "It's a macho culture and they like all the warrior images and ego bullshit."

    Particularly the ego bit.

    The only reason for so much bravado is to compensate for something. I wonder what that might be? Hmmmmmm.

  • Aresen||

    It's a very small something.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    I think it more the wanna be aspect of the police - I would want to see some evidence of military members bringing this into the police culture. The IL State cops I kne that were with me in AF and IQ were more than happy to drop the whole combat soldier routine and get back to normal. Same with the Chicago cops (of course, they already have a "stop resisting, wham, wham, wham" problem long before 2001 - present).

    I suggest looking at Balko's book to see how this came about.

  • John||


  • Drake||


    As an actual Infantry Vet, I would feel like a dink painting up my face and putting moss on my head - to do "police" work.

    That picture gives me the douche-chills - like office workers who get cammoed up to play paint-ball.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    "That picture gives me the douche-chills - like office workers who get cammoed up to play paint-ball."


  • John||

    Some of t hat for sure. In this case it is a bunch of pathetic cops wasting tax money to run around in the woods.

  • Tim||

    We're a long way from Adam 12.

  • kinnath||

    Car 54 where are you?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Andy would only let them carry one bullet each.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Should have scrolled down before posting:)

  • Tim||

    2004: Occupation of Iraq

    2014 : Occupation of America

    Same people, just come home.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    "Same people, just come home."

    [citation needed]

  • ||

    I wish the whole "there'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass" shtick were real. The image of our very own Gestapo getting massacred by unorganized militia brings me great joy.

  • JEP||

    The local SWAT team used to come into my crossfit gym periodically and do a work out. Their times on the workouts and their power and olympic lifting numbers were pretty pathetic.

    It was a nice thought knowing that all the "nerd" engineers and working professionals at the gym would be able to out muscle the local Gestapo.

  • ||

    That's about as heavily armed and armored a cop should be.

  • From the Tundra||

    I was at the local shooting range recently. It is a cop range that is open to the civilians for a few hours each week (really nice, tho, and no gang bangers). There is a poster there that shows images of cops for the last couple hundred years. Most looked like the pic above.

    Sure enough, the final pic is "Super Tactical Cop". Enough to make you barf.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Unless he only has 1 bullet - ala Barney Fife - too armed for my taste.

    Fuck, Andy Griffith never carried a revolver at all.

  • Aresen||

    Andy Griffith also respected civil liberties.

    Need more Andy Griffiths and fewer Jack Ryan wannabees.

  • Rasilio||

    That's cause Andy Griffith lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere.

    You go out into some of the same small towns today and you'll probably still find very close modern analogues to Andy Griffith

  • AlmightyJB||

    Actually you'll find bunch of cops well equiped with federal WOD dollars flying around looking for hidden pot plots to raid.

  • Andrew S.||

    There's a story I once heard (while listening to an old radio drama) about a Texas Ranger back from the early 20th century. Said he always carried his revolver with the hammer resting on an empty cylinder, so it couldn't be accidentally or illegitimately fired.

    Story went on to say the Ranger was asked if he was putting himself in danger by only having 5 bullets in the revolver instead of 6. Response was simple "If I can't hit my target with 5 shots, the 6th wouldn't do me any good".

    Ah, if only.

  • R C Dean||

    Said he always carried his revolver with the hammer resting on an empty cylinder,

    That's actually pretty common, especially (I think) for single-actions? If the hammer snags on something, you don't want it snapping back on a live round.

  • LarryA||

    Older single-actions, that's true. Modern ones (since 1980s) have transfer bars and such to keep a dropped hammer off the primer.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I would prefer something more along the lines of this.

  • ||

    You magnificent bastard.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I would not resist

  • Christophe||

    Actually, they can have as much armoring as they want. Maybe it'll get them out of the shoot-first mentality.

  • Drake||

    Enough of it and they won't even be able to get out the car.


    "Dude, its not 'airsoft' = its Milsim!"

    tell me how that looks any different. Boys like to play army.

  • ||

    It doesn't. Fucktards think they're soldiers. They ain't shit. They're civilians with select duties for the protection of the public. Everything else is illegitimate.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Not just that - but as the other article with 377 rounds fire shows - some of the worst shooters in the military, in maintenance units, should be more trusted with firearms than the average police officer.

    & that's irregardless if said officer is either retired or otherwise currently engaged in professional oppression of the citizenry while calling everyone else "civilians".

  • sarcasmic||

    They’re domestic police officers who serve the residents of Michigan. Their mission is to protect the constitutional rights of those residents.

    That's so cute!

  • GroundTruth||

    Power corrupts, and my last encounter with the local gendarmerie (an accident in which I was 100% in the right, at least according to the check that the other driver's insurance company sent me) left me pretty well convinced that these guys have all lost all understanding of what they are supposed to be doing and who serves whom.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    And Hit&Run; and Balko keep kicking us in the nuts with lots of examples of the cops disconnect from the rest of us.

  • sarcasmic||

    They serve the public. The public is everyone but you.

    Which means you serve them.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    They serve the public. The public is everyone but you.

    Yep - the public is everyone who is not a civilian in their minds. & unless you're one of them, politically above them, or have some other power in some way to hold over them, you're a civilian.

    Otherwise known as the 99%

  • DJF||

    Have them put on masks and carry either EU or Russian flags and they could be bringing democracy to Ukraine

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||


    "OK boys, for your final exam, you are going to clear Donetsk of Russian separatists. Congratulations!"

    *sound of several cops fainting or crapping their pants*

  • Aresen||

    Whatever happened to "Donetsk, don't tell"?

  • Drake||

    Holly shit - I would chip in to send them on that training exercise.

  • Griffin3||

    Maple Dawn

    Since aboot f'ver, no Canuck army has ever invaded 'murrican soil. Until now, eh?

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    +1 Wolverine

  • Paul.||

    We've got brand new Michigan State Police patrol rifles! Never been fired, only dropped once!

  • AlmightyJB||

    If I had an unlimited budget I would buy an arsonel as well.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Are those airsoft guns? They don't look right. I think there's something up with this picture.

  • Harvard||

    Chill peeps. It's Michigan. (And you all used to chuckle about the Michigan Militia). Did you think transitioning to Right To Work and giving the finger to Affirmative Action were accidents?

    Nobody here takes these shit stains seriously, especially the Jack Pine Savages in rural Michigan (who, every day a van leaves Detroit, make up more and more of the populace).

    Were I these turd stiffs I'd be leery of a Ryder truck in my driveway. It's my guess the face paint is to remain anonymous.

  • Not an Economist||

    I'm against the proliferation of SWAT and the overall militarization of the police, but I don't see a problem with what they are wearing. There are a lot of farms and woods in Michigan, and the outfits they are wearing are far more appropriate than the black uniforms they typically wear in the city.

  • GroundTruth||

    If they maintained a legitimate purpose, they generally would not need to be sneaking up on anyone, and plain black, or blue, or olive even, would be enough to have all except the worst stand down out of respect.

    But, they've lost that respect, mostly through their own practices.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    There are a lot of farms and woods in Michigan, and the outfits they are wearing are far more appropriate than the black uniforms they typically wear in the city.

    Sorry, while I sort of agree this isn't as bad as the tactical uniforms many cities use, I disagree that this is ok as police officers should not be trying to be concealed while walking around whether in the woods or on a city street.

    I say this as I was in the military - and that's why you wear cammo and run around in the woods - to find people and kill them, while hopefully remaining mostly concealed, and therefore safe from what will likely be their return fire.

    Additionally normal people don't do this for safety reasons - as concealing yourself in wooded areas, where it's most likely legal to discharge firearms and therefore could have hunters is damn fine way to get dead.

    Which is precisely why hunters wear bright orange vests over their cammos. Unlike these LEOs, they learned along time ago to do two things the average officer today seems incapable of:

    shoot well & shoot safely

    But I digress - my point is unless you can come up with some other reason LEOs should be training as if they're ambushing people or some logical explanation as to how this training isn't about ambushing people, then you might want to contemplate again whether this is an "ok" thing.

    & in case I wasn't clear - my answer would be: absolutely not.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I wrote enough - but in case some don't wish to read it all - just turn on NatGeo and check out the Alaskan Cops show on it.

    If any police force should be worried about being in wooded areas where everyone else is also armed - it would be them.

    Yet they all wear blue uniforms...


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