Militarization of Police

Baby SWAT

|

mednailer.php.jpeg

The photo above shows Rock Island, Illinois SWAT team member Dytanya Robinson, who's teaching a youngster how to tear down a private citizen's door. Her appearance at the local elementary school came courtesy of funding from the DARE program. The article's lede:

The kids sat in Frances Willard Elementary School's library Thursday morning, waiting for their teacher.

She arrived about 9:10 a.m., dressed in all black, including a black face mask. "Sorry I'm late," Rock Island Police Officer Dytanya Robinson told the Junior Police Academy class. "I've already been working two raids … I've been sweating in this hot suit since 6 a.m."

Two SWAT raids before 9am, on one day, in a city of 40,000, that had all of two murders in 2005.

NEXT: The Passion of the Mouse

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Said raids possibly conducted on violent abusers of the marijuana cigarette.

  2. It’s the rest of the photos in that shoot that really make it. They also had kids holding storm trooper shields. Others were apparently asked to play the home owners. They are lying on the floor and one of them is cuffed.

    I wonder if they also recreated the moment when the cops realize they’ve invaded the wrong home or when someone is shot? Note, no one is brandishing fake weapons either. This is all games and all bloodless and nothing ever goes wrong.

  3. Repeat after me kids: “Our intelligence was sound and our methods were for the safety of our officers.”

  4. Is Rock Island the same place that passed one of America’s most draconian sudafed laws? I vaguely remember something about draconian sudafed laws from an Illinois city with a similar name.

    I could be imagining all of this, of course.

  5. “…a city of 40,000, that had all of two murders in 2005.”

    Can’t you see? It’s working. These people are making your world a better, safer, place.

  6. Reason #367 why I want to home-school my son. If I want him to learn military tactics I’ll send him to military school. I don’t, and I won’t.

  7. rolls eyes at bronwyn. yes, protect your child from the real world and they’ll grow up just like you want them to, hating wars (even the necessary ones) and protesting and wearing hemp pants and yelling to strangers about “the man” and his “lies.”

  8. Can’t you see? It’s working. These people are making your world a better, safer, place.

    P Brooks, can I buy your Tiger-repelling rock?

  9. Yeah, because not seeing SWAT teams smash down doors and deploy riot shields will make them hate WWII vets.

    DAMN YOU PRIVATE RYAN!!!!

  10. bronwyn not that I think there aren’t many real reasons to dislike public schooling, but nowhere in that article did it say the program was mandatory

  11. protect your child from the real world and they’ll grow up just like you want them to

    So government indoctrination centers practicing zero tolerance, teaching whole language, multi-culturalism, etc. is the real world?

  12. @Izzur – “nowhere in that article did it say the program was mandatory”

    Uh… it’s Thursday morning… a school day… it’s their teacher in SWAT drag.

    Elementary students do NOT have the option of getting up and walking out on a “program”.

    CB

  13. The drive…
    The power…
    The skills…
    The motivation…
    The power again…
    The fortitude…
    The strive…
    The ideals…
    The list of attributes…

    The Municipality.

    Honor. Valor. Buttor.

  14. DARE to have kids taught by thugs.

    It’s nice that the paper allows proud parents to order prints of photos like this. Only $5 for a 4×6 print!

  15. I’m fairly sure most of the SWAT members, who risk their lives to make us safer, would sorely resent being referred to as “thugs.”

    uncle sam- I wasn’t aware that I had been indoctrinated by the government. My schools were taught by teachers who, by my accounts, didn’t even really care for the government (what with unions and such). Also, “teaching whole language”, what exactly were you trying to say?

  16. nowhere in that article did it say the program was mandatory

    It also didn’t say it was forbidden, and in public school, everything not forbidden is mandatory.

  17. SWAT = Nazi Fun Klub. Everyone needs a hobby – Get Paid Too!

  18. From the ethnic makeup of most of the students, I’m thinking they’d be better prepared for life learning what to do on the other side of that door.

  19. Jimmy,

    You must be new to this site. As part of your orientation, we ask you to check out some of Mr. Radley Balko’s writing on SWAT tactics here and here. You can google “swat site:reason.com” for more links.

  20. Izzur-“…nowhere in that article did it say the program was mandatory.”

    DARE is mandatory. I tried to get my kid out of it and was told I couldn’t. I primed her with all sorts of inconvenient facts and exercised my parental right to visit classes during the DARE instruction time. She gave the teacher and the officer absolute fits but they couldn’t do much about it because she followed procedures and stayed polite. She and the other kids had a pretty good time and the benefit is that the other kids in her class learned how stupid the drug war is.

    The teacher and the officer were somewhat less appreciative.

  21. “P Brooks, can I buy your Tiger-repelling rock?”

    No; I need it. But I have this nifty red toenail polish, specially formulated for elephants.

    [*who want to hide in cherry trees]

  22. Shame on you, Nonnymouse. How can government maintain its grip if the unfitness of individuals to reason and survive on their own is undermined? It’s a jungle out there, and those recorded animal sounds you hear might be real.

  23. rolls eyes at bronwyn. yes, protect your child from the real world and they’ll grow up just like you want them to, hating wars (even the necessary ones) and protesting and wearing hemp pants and yelling to strangers about “the man” and his “lies.”

    So I take it you’re raising your kids to be good at strawman arguments.

  24. I’m fairly sure most of the SWAT members, who risk their lives to make us safer, would sorely resent being referred to as “thugs.”

    Kathryn Johnston might call them thugs anyway.

    Get the fuck outta here.

  25. I’m fairly sure most of the SWAT members, who risk their lives to make us safer, would sorely resent being referred to as “thugs.”

    I’m pretty sure that when you call an alcoholic an alcoholic, he resents it. Doesn’t make it less true.

  26. I’m confused. I thought public schools are supposed to crank out little leftists who, if they do well, go on to become little elitist leftists in our university system (unless they go to Liberty or ORU).

  27. Kathryn Johnston might call them thugs anyway.

    Kathryn Johnston should become an icon to the anti-swat movement. She’s our own Rosa Parks and Emmitt Till combined. REMEMBER KATHRYN JOHNSTON!

  28. Jim Bob-

    I’d rather they be good at arguing then just taking my word that something is bad for them, even if their arguments aren’t correct, it would still be a lesson in thinking for themselves.

    Also, its not fair to classify an entire branch of Law Enforcement based on a few bad instances. You ignore all of the times when the SWAT team does its job correctly. And I’m not saying you should ignore the times when they fuck up, but to classify all of them as thugs is ignorant. Its like a comedian making a Catholic Priest joke, it might be funny to assume all catholic priests are pedophiles, but its not true.

  29. and protesting and wearing hemp pants

    So I take it you’re raising your kids to be good at strawman arguments.

    In mah ho-uhm schoo-uhl, we kin tey-uhl strawmihns fuhm heyumpmihns.

  30. jim bob-

    and I will get the fuck out of here now. So you can continue to believe that your opinion is correct and the only opinion and not have it clogged up by people who disagree. sorry for wasting your time, oh mighty sir.

  31. Jimmy,
    The situations where a SWAT team could actually be used are so few. When was the last time you heard of a SWAT team foiling a bank robbery or some legitimate violent crime? They’re usually used as a big stick in no-knock raids against drug dealers / drug users, and prompted by the information of a paid informant.

    Look into the Atlanta GA police department for a fuller exposition of the institutionalized corruption.

  32. “I’m not saying you should ignore the times when they fuck up, but to classify all of them as thugs is ignorant.”

    Until the cops begin to (ahem) police themselves, and the “good” cops throw their unscrupulous brethren in the slammer for violating the laws they are supposed to uphold, I will, in good conscience, classify every fucking one of them as “thugs.”

  33. RIP Grandpa Thug.

  34. yeah, my grandpa was a cop in Cleveland. He wasn’t a thug, most probably because he did the bulk of his police work during that nice time when alcohol prohibition was over and drug prohibition had yet to be ramped up into hysteric frenzy. My grandpa would beat the shit out of some of these thugs who call themselves police today.

  35. There are no good peace officers left. No good cop could stay in today’s LEAs. A person of integrity would be either arresting most of their coworkers or quiting in frustration. Either way they’d be gone.

  36. No good cop could stay in today’s LEAs. A person of integrity would be either arresting most of their coworkers or quiting in frustration.

    My dad was saying that in the 1960’s. I think it’s gotten worse.

    Disclaimer: Yes, there are some good cops and sometimes cops do good things. But definitions have changed as has the culture. These cops obviously see themselves in a different light. In the mirror they see a big white hat. We see a different color. They’re world is shades of gray ours is vibrant color. They don’t know it.

  37. P Brooks, can I buy your Tiger-repelling rock?

    Akira,

    I think your sarcasmometer might need to go back to the shop for recalibration. I hope it’s still under warranty. Even if it’s not it’s well worth spending the modest fee.

    I think you might find the time here a little more pleasant if you can recognize when people are kidding. You might even learn to laugh.

  38. Also, its not fair to classify an entire branch of Law Enforcement based on a few bad instances. You ignore all of the times when the SWAT team does its job correctly. And I’m not saying you should ignore the times when they fuck up, but to classify all of them as thugs is ignorant. Its like a comedian making a Catholic Priest joke, it might be funny to assume all catholic priests are pedophiles, but its not true.

    You’re right, it is bad to make generalizations. The increasing militarization of the police forces across the nation and its consequences has been documented, and continues to be documented, by Mr. Balko. You simply cannot believe that violent and intrusive SWAT tactics are necessary to apprehend non-violent drug offenders. If you do believe that, and you believe the lie that, for LEA’s own safety, cops must dress in body armor and tote automatic weapons while breaking down doors and violently entering the homes of US citizens, you are being obtuse.

    As for the substance of Mr. Balko’s post…do you really need me to point that out to you? Those kids are captives of the public school system. They are being taught, quite directly, that it is unquestionably okay for cops to enter their homes. Do you think they’d invite Mr. Balko to the classroom to explain how violent police tactics result in violent and tragic outcomes for both the police and their victims?

    You want to play the cop as hero, martyr, savior of the humanity card, fine. Don’t fucking come here and act like this is some gathering of hippies shouting stupid slogans and ranting about how the man keeps us down. The militarization of the police is a serious issue and you’d do well to start informing yourself and perhaps your kids so you avoid looking like thuggish toady in the future.

  39. It’s nice that the paper allows proud parents to order prints of photos like this. Only $5 for a 4×6 print!

    I wonder if they can buy bumper stickers that say, “MY SON IS A STUDENT LYING HANDCUFFED ON THE FLOOR OF FRANCES WILLARD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL”?

  40. Its like a comedian making a Catholic Priest joke, it might be funny to assume all catholic priests are pedophiles, but its not true.

    Actually a very good analogy.

    Only a few Catholic priests were pedophiles. Had the administration of the Catholic Church exposed them, had them arrested, defrocked them, and made sure they never ever came into contact with Catholic youth again the problem would have been minimized.

    Instead the hierarchy of the church covered up what the priests did, reassigned them to different dioceses, and didn’t even warn parents in the new churches what they were. As a result, pedophiles flocked to where they were welcomed and the problem spiraled out of control.

    If, when a Kathryn Johnson is murdered and the officers launch a cover-up, the officers involved were prosecuted and procedures were changed to make damn sure innocent people didn’t get raided and killed, then I’d say it was just a few officers. But the law-enforcement-wide response is “Oops. Oh well. Can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Back to business as usual. It’s for the children.” That’s a much bigger problem, and it will require exposing and correcting at the ballot box, or if that fails with the bullet box.

    Until the cops begin to (ahem) police themselves, and the “good” cops throw their unscrupulous brethren in the slammer for violating the laws they are supposed to uphold, I will, in good conscience, classify every fucking one of them as “thugs.”

    SWAT teams cannot police themselves. The police administrators must do it. Administrators cannot act until the policy-makers end the “win the drug war at all costs” mentality guiding them. It’s apparent that isn’t happening until the voters mandate it.

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  41. No comma.

    (Good post, LarryA)

  42. uncle sam- I wasn’t aware that I had been indoctrinated by the government.

    Well, it wouldn’t be very good indoctrination if you recognized it, would it?

    🙂

  43. Also, its not fair to classify an entire branch of Law Enforcement based on a few bad instances.

    Yes, it is, because those “few instances” often result in the death of innocent people. The militarization of the police also mean that these instances will start becoming more common.

    You ignore all of the times when the SWAT team does its job correctly.

    Not really. One of the main points of Balko’s writings is that a SWAT team shouldn’t be doing the job at all. Better police work, not greater violence, is a preferred solution to most of the crimes that SWAT teams are now routinely being called in to deal with. As someone pointed out, the exceptions to this – violent bank robberies, hostage situations, are rare.

  44. I read the headline, and saw the photo.

    Seen enough to know the proper response is “you got to be fucking kidding me.”

    Fucking cops.

  45. LarryA,

    The officers who killed Kathryn Johnson were prosecuted. But other than that, I agree with everything you wrote.

  46. FYI the cop in San Bernadino who shot the unarmed Iraq war vet on video was acquitted yesterday. (Heard it on the radio, Google “Ivory Web”).

  47. … the exceptions to this – violent bank robberies, hostage situations, are rare.

    Baked Penguin – They’re so rare, that most communities could never justify the expense if that was all they were used for. Here’s the mindset as I see it.

    1) Gee, SWAT teams are neat, we gotta get ourselves one.

    2) We’ve got a SWAT team.

    3) We can’t have ethem sitting around on their asses all day because the taxpayers would get pissed off.

    4) Therefore let’s have them do routine police work in an assault team manner.

    After needless deaths occur, they can’t relate reasons 1 thru 4 so they respond with –

    5)Well, accidents happen, it’s just an isolated incident (BTW, hundreds does not meet my definition of isolated) and they’re just trying to protect themselves from Grandmas, pot smokers, poker players, armed citizens protecting their homes etc.

    Amazingly the public doesn’t see through this smokescreen.

  48. If you don’t agree with “thug”, try Radley’s favorite, cowards. Back in the day, the guy wearing the ski mask, breaking into your home at night,with a gun, was the bad guy. Still is. Only now the bad guy thinks he’s the good guy. Mama said there’d be days like this.I know, all cops are not bad, just when they want to be, right?

  49. FYI the cop in San Bernadino who shot the unarmed Iraq war vet on video was acquitted yesterday.

    Bob, you have got to be shitting me. Did you see the video? That cop intended an execution.

  50. Google “ivory Webb”, two Bees.

    At least the PF isn’t going back to work for the the Berdoo Sheriff’s office.

  51. I can’t believe the jury acquitted. I am shocked. It seemed like such a slam dunk. There is no question that Webb intended to murder the Airman because he was pissed off about the high speed chase.

    Mrs TWC just told me to let it go. Just let it go. Go snip in the garden, and relax.

  52. I’m surprised that the people that filmed that didn’t end up catching Deputy Webb’s ire as well.

  53. I guess the jury thought, since the cop did’nt shoot everybody at the scene, he must have had good reason. Never disrespect the authorita’ of an authority figure in a police state. Especially if the cop is angry in the first place.Unbelivable.I wonder what the ratio of dead civilians to dead cops is under circumstances like this.

  54. Oh good grief. Here I go, feeding the got damm troll…

    *shoots the bird at jimmy*

    I have no intention of protecting my child from the real world. None whatsoever. In fact, the first thing I said to him was, “I love you and welcome you to a beautiful universe. I’m sorry to bring you into a world that’s so troubled, but I hope we can help you learn how to navigate your way through it.” In order to do that, jimmy, he has to be exposed to both the wondrously beautiful and the unthinkably horrid.

    Jimmy, you’re an asshole for assuming I’m some hippie-dippy hemp-wearing sign-wielding screaming luddite simply because I have little faith in the public school system when it comes to teaching young people how to think. Not what to think, asshole, but how to think. I hope (but seriously doubt) you understand the difference. Also, I have never in my life uttered the words “the man and his lies” in anything but a mocking tone.

    Fuck off, troll.

    Also. Thank you M, Nonnymouse and Crackerboy for stating the obvious in response to jimmytheass and Izzur. Instead of typing back at them, I can now enjoy the rest of the thread. Thank you 🙂

    hemp pants … gah!

  55. *as she enjoys the rest of the thread*

    I see many of you took shots at jimmytheass. Ah, the joys of a Saturday afternoon spent bashing a troll!

    golly, I love you guys

  56. FYI the cop in San Bernadino who shot the unarmed Iraq war vet on video was acquitted yesterday. (Heard it on the radio, Google “Ivory Web”).

    06-30-2007 20:14
    Don’t forget, there’s a lot of gangbangers (bona fide) in the armed services. Just because they’re a service member, doesn’t mean that they’re not still dirty.

  57. I’m Officsr Dytanya. This is my partner, Officer Arrestya.

  58. For those that didn’t see the video of Ivory Webb shooting Senior Airman Elio Carrion last year:

    video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8027854162700568157

    video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5211306153925066798

  59. Xboy wins the thread.

    Nobody has mentioned that, while we’re decking our cops out in the lastest in paramilitary gear and allowing them to kill with impunity, the crime rate is going down, and has been since the late 80’s. I really don’t think this decrease can be attributed to the increase in SWAT teams out there.

  60. Don’t forget, there’s a lot of gangbangers (bona fide) in the armed services. Just because they’re a service member, doesn’t mean that they’re not still dirty.

    Don’t forget, there are a lot of liars, thieves, and murderers on the police force. Just because they’re a cop, doesn’t mean that they’re not still dirty.

  61. I love how you guys jump to the cop’s defense after he choke-holds a 13-year-old girl and endlessly whine about cops coming into a DARE class to give kids a fun day to fuck around with fun toys.

  62. Of course he got off. He’s a cop. Lots of sheeple out there will ALWAYS take the word of a cop no matter how ridiculous. Must have had a jury full of them.

  63. while we’re decking our cops out in the lastest in paramilitary gear and allowing them to kill with impunity, the crime rate is going down, and has been since the late 80’s.

    = Reallocation of resources?

    “Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony.” ~ Franz Kafka

  64. You have to think of the Webb verdict in terms of him being the first leo EVER charged in San Bernadino county history. Those are some pretty leo friendly community standards (as common sense would suggest that some local leo has deserved prosecution in the past century).

    Here in LA county, political pressure leads to cops being charged more often than once a century (not nearly often enough, mind you) but they usually are acquitted (think Rodney King beating). After the local DA mounts a half-assed prosecution and the officers are acquitted (remember, the DA needs the support of local police in his other trials), the feds get their crack on “civil rights violation” charges(which is rumored to be happening in the Webb case).

    I can honestly say the one thing that pisses me off to no end is hearing folks (quite often the media or cops themselves) refer to non-police as “civilains”.

  65. J sub D – I suspect one of the reasons that the public doesn’t see through it is that the MSM doesn’t report it as a national phenomenon, leaving the local yokels to talk about it. This usually amounts to 10 seconds of a victim or victim’s family talking about how the police shouldn’t have smashed their door in, and 20 seconds of some police spokesweasel saying how they’re going to make sure the isolated incident doesn’t happen again, with the anchortard segueing into the next item by mentioning how often cops get shot at and how hard their job is.

  66. the one thing that pisses me off to no end is hearing folks (quite often the media or cops themselves) refer to non-police as “civilains”.

    Point taken. What would be a better term? “Citizen” doesn’t work because cops are citizens too. “Pedestrian” and “motorist” and (alas) “resident” are subsets of what genre? (Snarky comments welcome too, but it’s a real question.)

  67. How about “customer”?

    After all, the police are merely citizens who are paid to carry out fulltime duties incumbent on all the citizenry.

  68. I love how you guys jump to the cop’s defense after he choke-holds a 13-year-old girl and endlessly whine about cops coming into a DARE class to give kids a fun day to fuck around with fun toys.

    Who, exactly, defended a cop who choked a 13-year-old girl?

  69. tarran – Nice. So, taking it all the way home, how long do you think we’ll have to wait before we’re called “supervisors”?

  70. Actually, “Master” has a nice ring to it.

  71. I can honestly say the one thing that pisses me off to no end is hearing folks (quite often the media or cops themselves) refer to non-police as “civilains”.

    Stop right where you are! You know the score, pal. You’re not cop, you’re little people!

  72. I can honestly say the one thing that pisses me off to no end is hearing folks (quite often the media or cops themselves) refer to non-police as “civilains”.

    This started out as an affectation in 1970s cop shows. Then it was part of the vernacular. Now it is part of the language.

    Now cities across the country have a body called “The Civilian Review Board”. I ask you, are we ruled by morons?

    Rhetorical question, people, rhetorical question!

  73. Whoops, wrong thread. But it kinda fits here too.

  74. I’m honestly getting to the point where I can say I hate cops. Which is a shame. My cousin worked for the PD around his home in upstate NY and is about to join the Air Force with a view to a LEO career once he gets out in 4 years. He’s a really great guy. But when I hear about crap like this, when I see the acquittal, when I see that glocktalk thread ABOUT the acquittal, I just can’t see straight afterwards.

  75. Two SWAT raids before 9am, on one day, in a city of 40,000, that had all of two murders in 2005.

    For chrissakes, Balko, there are people out there who might be smoking or, god forbid, betting $5 on a poker game. I for one am thankful our police officers are finally doing their job. Thanks, Rock Is. police!

  76. Local paper had an article about the establishment of a SWAT. The article was illustrated with a picture of a member of the new team, holding an automatic weapon, with a thirty round clip. . . and a second clip taped to it. Just who does he need sixty rounds for?

  77. From the LA Times article about Ivory Webb’s acquittal:

    The sheriff has declined to say whether Webb was fired last year or left the department on his own accord. He said Friday that he did not know if Webb was seeking a law enforcement job, but that he would not be reinstated at the San Bernardino County department.

    Why ever not, Sheriff?

  78. Just who does he need sixty rounds for?

    In case Grandpa comes out of the bathroom to see what all the noise is about.

  79. I just had a discussion about these issues with some friends at the bar, and they were utterly unaware that “no-knock raids” even existed. They were shocked to hear that the police can break into a home in ninja gear and terrorize the residents. So tell everyone you know that this happens, maybe it will spread exponentially.

  80. Here’s an idea. Homeschool your child. Instead of the state indoctrinating him through DARE and everything else teach him about Liberty and Freedom. Instead of the state teaching him how to submit to masked stormtroopers who kick in his door you teach him how to successfully kill the entire entry team.

    Maybe there would be less wrong door raids if they ended with the entire raid team being carted off in body bags. Obviously the shame and legal repercussions (and/or lack thereof) of greasing the occasional 90 year old grandmother isn’t slowing them down in the least.

  81. when I see that glocktalk thread

    Ugh. I just had to go over to “Cop Talk” and be reminded of how I’d love to use those pigs on that board as pinatas.

  82. I’m fairly sure most of the SWAT members, who risk their lives to make us safer, would sorely resent being referred to as “thugs.”

    First, SWAT team risk many lives, but not their own (friendly fire excepted).

    Second, SWAT teams are thugs. If we still had a constitution , they wouldn’t exist.

  83. It’s amazing how many people in here have morphed from being “opposed to the use of SWAT teams to apprehend non-violent offenders” to being “opposed to the use of SWAT teams period”, in exactly the same way that “Mothers against Drunk Driving” has morphed into “Mothers (and Others) against anyone enjoying alcohol”.

  84. Russ R –

    Your impression may arise from the use of synecdoche by exasperated “civilians.”

    “SWAT teams” could be a shorthand similar to that of a pedestrian railing againt “those damn skateboarders!” imprecisely to denote only the reckless ones, especially if the tide of such recklesness is perceived by the complainant to be rising.

  85. at best, SWAT teams are a good example of “Mission Drift” and at worst, some kind of a “bait and switch” con.

    SWAT teams were “invented” with the stated goal of saving hostages. The problem being that, as a rule, we’re usually pretty short on hostage scenes altogether, much less hostage scenes where turning a squad of soldier/police loose can be seen as a high percentage play. So they started siccing them on drug dealers and the like.

    Today, some fucked up places use SWAT teams to serve ALL of their arrest papers! To a large degree, I hold their citizenry responsible. How can a people tolerate (or even embrace) such heavy handed and marshal treatment from their own “protect and serve” crew? Such a mindset is largely alien to my midwest provincialist mindset.

    Where’s the freedom? Where’s the liberty?

    “Beat the people with the peoples’ stick”?

    It can’t happen here…

  86. Watched that video again. Definitely attempted murder. I forgot about the part where the cop tries to frame the guy by calling in and saying shots fired.

  87. While I appreciate Balko’s fine work and have been following his blog for quite a while, I think it is important to get facts right. If this if the Rockford, IL I lived just south of for 10 years, then it’s population if 150,000, not 40,000, and it is the center of a metro area of about 300,000. It is probably the 2-4th largest city in Illinois.

    I don’t know how many murders it had last year, but in the 1990s it certainly had many more than 2 per year. It has long been known as a pretty rough town (much as have Decatur, Danville, Peoria, and Aurora, for example, in Illinois).

    That being said, I think SWAT drug raids on just about anything except perhaps a warehouse sized meth operation are worse than useless and dangerous. I have a brother who retired after 31 years in the Illinois State Police. They at least try to weed out their bad apples. He felt a great deal of contempt for most Illinois city police departments, but especially for the administrations of those departments. He regards most of them as being between corrupt and tyrannical. OTOH, he says he knows a great many individual police who are very good, honest, hardworking individuals. They’re just overwhelmed by the others.

    I suspect most of it has to do with community expectations. I now live in a community of 80,000 where the expectations are of proper policing, and that’s what we get. I suspect we have a SWAT team, but it has not been used in the 7 years I’ve lived here.

    The same was true when I was going to school at the U of Illinois. On the Urbana side they expected correct policing and that’s what they got. On the Champaign they expected Wild West policing and they got shoot-em-up cowboy police.

    Anyway, get the fundamental facts right.

  88. Some quick Google work shows that Rockford has a population of 152,000+ and had 11,20,12,8, and 19 murders from 2001-2005. It skews young, and has an average FBI murder ratio of 1.03 to the national average and 1.3 to the national average violent crime rate. It is hardly a Leave It to Beaver place.

    I still agree that teaching kids that SWAT drug raids like this is okay is not a good idea. My limited research tells me that probably half of all the warrants used in these raids have some flaw. It’s just revolting.

  89. It’s Rock Island; easy to confuse with Rockford.

    Rock Island is one of the Quad Cities, a metro about 375k-400k in population.

  90. Anyway, get the fundamental facts right.

    Good idea. Getting the name right is a good start.

    Next time, cut and paste into google instead of relying on your memory.

  91. TWC – Your dog is named Synecdoche?

    highnumber’s pigs, your dogs… I get so confused.

  92. The sheriff has declined to say whether Webb was fired last year or left the department on his own accord. He said Friday that he did not know if Webb was seeking a law enforcement job, but that he would not be reinstated at the San Bernardino County department.


    Why ever not, Sheriff?

    To be fair, there is a gap between “We couldn’t prove Mr. Webb guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” and “I don’t want that bozo in my department.”

  93. Thank you, LarryA. I guess bozo’s not an ADA category.

  94. Last night I saw that the LAPD is using new bus stop posters to recruit, their new slogan is “Become Twice the Citizen”. Made me want to vomit.

  95. Dude, that kid is in the perfect compromising position to recieve Surprise Butt Secks!

  96. From the tiny picture, that SWAT lady (if indeed she is a lady) has an Innsmouth look about her. Bulging eyes, flappy neck skin…
    and a hairline receding faster than Lonewacko from a TacoStand.

  97. TWC – Gimee back my mind.

  98. Message to the kid in the photo: you have to choose between the mohawk and the glasses.

  99. “Hey, yew, why dun’t ye say somethin’? Haow’d ye like to he livin’ in a taown like this, with everything a-rottin’ an’ dyin’, an’ boarded-up SWAT teams crawlin’ an’ bleatin’ an’ barkin’ an’ hoppin’ araoun’ black cellars an’ attics every way ye turn? Hey? Haow’d ye like to hear the haowlin’ night arter night from the churches an’ Order o’ Dagon Hall, an’ know what’s doin’ part o’ the haowlin’? Haow’d ye like to hear what comes from that awful reef every May-Eve an’ Hallowmass? Hey? Think the old man’s crazy, eh? Wal, Sir, let me tell ye that ain’t the wust!”

  100. Crime, were you disparaging Newark?

  101. Carter, and she’s got a mustache that’d shame a Sicilian woman in menopause.

    Don’t jump on me now, I’ve got a 21″ monitor and I’m wearing my good glasses.

  102. “bronwyn not that I think there aren’t many real reasons to dislike public schooling, but nowhere in that article did it say the program was mandatory”

    Sure, some of the kids have to grow up to be victims of these young brownshirts after all.

    Me, I’m way past this, my kids can already kick in “a bad guy’s” door with their barefeet and are now working on their goosestep. The next step is to teach them to vote Republican.

  103. Good work, Russell!

    Now if we can find just one promising young person to lift up to benign dictator, then we won’t have to worry about teaching the rest of the kids how to vote, at all. We can have the SWAT class of kids and the WrongSideoftheDoor kids.

    The future’s so bright…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.