Militarization of Police

Another Isolated Incident


I actually spent much of the last week very near where this one happened:

Two Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office narcotics agents burst into the wrong house during a raid in Galliano earlier this week and now face possible disciplinary action.

Sheriff Craig Webre classified the mistake as "very rare" and said the agents, Lt. Chet Caillouet and Deputy Robert Mason, likely used the wrong two-story house as a reference point.

No drugs. Just an 83-year-old woman and her son.

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  1. Sheriff Craig Webre classified the mistake as “very rare”

    I’m guessing he means rare within his own department.
    That or this guy doesn’t read the news much.

  2. It seems that as long as your trying to get ‘the bad guys’ any action is justified.Look at the whineing on cable news and in Congress about the jail terms for two ‘border guard heroes’.Never mind they shot an unarmed man while running away,then tried to cover it up.

  3. I’m guessing he means rare within his own department.
    That or this guy doesn’t read the news much.

    One thing that is not rare: People having no fucking clue that this happens all the time.

    I have tried to tell people, at least those who don’t rely on H&R for their news, about the frequency of these “isolated incidents,” and they all dismiss me as a crackpot.

    It’s really frustrating.

    And sad.

  4. I get the same response, Taktix…

    People just want to blindly believe that everything the cops do is a good thing…

  5. Uh, I’m sorry if I have to turn in a decoder ring of some sort, but I’m having a hard time getting too worked up over this. Apparently, the only damage done was the lady’s blood pressure being raised.

    Even in Libertopia, cops are going to serve warrants to the wrong address once in a while. Unless you want to do away with search warrants entirely, I don’t see how you’re going to be able to prevent this.

  6. Crimethink… couldn’t they have knocked on the door first, before breaking it down? I believe the issue is “No knock warrants” being executed (to coin a phrase) at the wrong address… not “warrants” being executed at the wrong address.


  7. crimethink,

    Knocking on the wrong door with a warrant is one thing. Kicking it in is something else entirely.

  8. Radley,

    Do you have any reliable statistics on the number of narcotics busts where police barged in the (1) wrong house and (2) correct house.

    I’d like to see what (1)/(2) is.

    BTW, I fully support your work on this issue.

  9. Rather, what 1/(1+2) is.

  10. Even in Libertopia, cops are going to serve warrants to the wrong address once in a while.

    Exactly, Warren. Which is why the serving of warrants should be carried out with as little violence as possible.

  11. Before anyone elses blood pressure rises, RTFA folks…

    “Hundreds of search warrants are executed each year”, [Sheriff] Webre said. He said he recalled only two such mistakes in the past 15 years.”

    Basic math: 2 / 3000 = 0.067% error rate (assuming that “hundreds” means ~200). That means they’ve been correct 99.93% of the time. But even the Sheriff acknowledges this isn’t good enough:

    “If you’re the person on the receiving end, one in 1,000 or one in 100,000 is too much,” Webre said.

    And it seems the cops were polite about the mistake:

    “They were apologetic afterward,” said [homeowner] Lefort, 61. “They realized they had made a mistake.”

    And they’ve already repaired the damage they had done:

    “The Sheriff’s Office replaced the wooden screen door with a new one”, said Lefort

    And will implement procedural changes to reduce the likelihood of future errors:

    Webre said he plans to insert an extra layer of security to prevent similar mistakes: one person will prepare the warrant and a second person will verify it before it is executed.

    What a bunch of jackbooted thugs.

  12. What a bunch of jackbooted thugs.

    Until they learn to knock before entering that is exactly what they are. Even when present, the drugs they were looking for don’t justify the rude type of intrusion that the police think it does. There is a disturbing tendency among policemen to be stupid, rude, arrogant and (worst of all) dishonest. It is high time for policemen to take a good look in the mirror, figure this out and start losing their ‘tude.

    The latest one caught in a lie was Michael Mette and it is a shame that Mr. Balko didn’t do a post on that interesting case when it was in the news this week.

  13. Russ R,The problem is many of these warrants are for things like gambling and simple drug posession ,many times on the word of an informent trying to get a deal.The use of SWAT and military tactics is getting out of hand.

  14. Radley what were you doing down here?

    I drive through Galliano all the time on my way to fish in Grand Isle. This town is SMALL as in 2 traffic lights and a Walmart thats about the extent of it. If these cops couldn’t find the right house in that little town they are really pathetic. Everyone knows everyone else in those little towns so how they didn’t know which house they were hitting is beyond me.

    BTW- Galliano is right before you get to Golden Meadow heading south on LA 1. Golden Meadow made the news years ago as one of the biggest speed traps in the country. It takes all of 5 minutes to drive through it, still till this day its a speed trap getting all its revenue from ticketing people going to Grand Isle.

    Many of the police forces in these towns are run by families it seems, talk about good old boys. It is a great place to go fishing however 🙂

  15. If they are issuing hundreds of search warrants every year in Galliano then everyone that lives there must be getting their homes searched because there are not that many people there to begin with. Hundreds???

  16. “Golden Meadow made the news years ago as one of the biggest speed traps in the country.”

    You don’t have to tell me about that, Dee, I got a ticket in Golden Meadow myself. Not living in Louisiana, I gave my fine to the officer. Somebody at a restrauant there told me I shouldn’t have paid it. He said he could have fixed it since there was an election going on there at the time.

  17. I live in a small town in Athens county Ohio.The violent and overall crime rate is low.Most crime is teh usual,domestic violance,public intox[ohio U is here],minor drug infrigments and the like.One of the canidates for sheriff is running on a platform of,yes,forming a SWAT team.He considers this important to his promise to crack down on crime.

  18. Dave W. & Michael Pack:

    I’ve already said many times here, that I believe SWAT raids should be primarily for high risk arrests of violent offenders who are likely to be armed.

    They should NOT be the standard arrest procedure in all situations, especially not arrests of non-violent offenders.

    I would, however, grant the local police superintendant/commissioner/sheriff the authority to use sound judgement and employ SWAT teams even in situations that might fall below the typical risk threshold, strictly for practical reasons that arise when managing a police force (e.g. the need to manage the availability of a finite number of officers to respond to unpredictable demands, the need to maintain an appropriate level of training for the SWAT team, etc.) Of course, with that discretionary authority would naturally come accountability.

    In this case, we don’t know the nature of the intended arrest. All we know is that it was a narcotics case, but nothing more than that. I’m not making any assumptions as to whether a SWAT team was appropriate here or not… just commenting that apart from a mistaken address, I think the police have acted appropriately here.

  19. Before anyone elses blood pressure rises, RTFA folks…

    “Hundreds of search warrants are executed each year”, [Sheriff] Webre said. He said he recalled only two such mistakes in the past 15 years.”

    Basic math: 2 / 3000 = 0.067% error rate (assuming that “hundreds” means ~200). That means they’ve been correct 99.93% of the time.

    Russ, I asked for reliable statistics, not numbers spewed from the mouth of the local sheriff. And what does “hundreds” mean? 200? 500? 700? And as I think someone else pointed out, not all warrants are approved and executed to look for drugs. I want to know the ratio of the ones that are.


  20. So why is anecdotal evidence so highly valued when it comes to this topic? Even if you lined up all of the isolated incidents posted, you still only have anecdote. What are the trends?

  21. Imminent harm is probably the standard for a no no knock warrant, if you are going to have them at all. I don’t care if someone flushes his stash.

  22. Clarification:

    Imminent harm should be the standard …

  23. x,y

    I’d love to have some real data too, primarily to get an answer to the question of whether SWAT teams increase or decrease the risk of injury or death to:

    Group 1. bystanders,
    Group 2. offenders; and
    Group 3. police.

    This would require:

    A. the number of arrest warrants served by conventional methods;
    B. the number of arrest warrants served by SWAT teams;
    C. the number of injuries and deaths (in groups 1, 2 & 3) incurred during conventional arrests; and
    D. the number of injuries and deaths (in groups 1, 2 & 3) incurred during SWAT raids.

    From there it’s simply a matter of comparing the ratios for each group: Cx/A vs. Dx/B. A t-test will determine whether any difference is statistically significant or not.

    I would further categorize every arrest warrant as being for either a violent offender or a non-violent offender, and compare the safety ratios for each group across those two categories.

    My hypothesis: SWAT teams would be significantly safer (lower rate of injury or deat) for groups 1, 2 & 3 in violent offender cases, but would only be safer for group 3 in non-violent cases.

  24. Police need to be given some lead-way. Everyone makes mistakes. If they are doing it in good faith. They should NOT be brought up on charges. And who’s to say that in hitting the wrong house (in a drug infested neighborhood) that they won’t find drugs, guns, and outstanding warrants.

    If u r NOT selling drugs, concealing weapons, or doing anything wrong…then there should be no problems with the Police knocking on your door.

  25. What are the trends?

    First mandatory data collection and aggregation and mandatory video. Then you can have your trend info. First things first.

  26. Alice,is that like ‘If your inoccent why do you need an attorney’


  28. Hard to tell if Alice is being sarcastic or stupid… or both.

  29. Alice have you ever been to Galliano? If you had you would wonder how such a “mistake,” was made to begin with. If they have a drug infested hood that means the whole town is drug infested because there are no real hoods there.

    Alice, would you feel better if you or someone you knew was killed in one of your “good faith,” raids? You wouldn’t be upset would you since everyone makes mistakes. A mistake is when you don’t balance your check book and bounce a check. I think forcable entry into a citizens home and possible confrontation that often ends in violence is a bit more than your run of the mill mistake.

    But hey if you want to find out for sure post our address and I will call in a anonomous tip and you might just find out one night for yourself. If you happen to make it out alive please come back and post your experiences for us all to read.

    And if the police aren’t doing anything wrong they should have no problem letting us film them.

  30. “If u r NOT selling drugs, concealing weapons, or doing anything wrong…then there should be no problems with the Police knocking on your door.”

    But there is a problem with selling drugs and concealing weapons being against the law.

  31. My deepest appologies…I did intend on stating that I am bein sarcastic.

    I’m actually really sad that our society has gone this route.

    I saw Adolf Guiliani in an interiew the other day saying that we’ve gone too far giving Crimial’s rights. This guy was a DA (Criminal Procecutor). People accused of a crime are Defendents…and are suppose to be assumed guilty…They are NOT CRIMINALS until convicted.

    That’s why
    the Bill of Rights
    the Criminals Procedure
    the Due Process of Law
    The Maranda and Rodriguez Rights
    Are important.

    To Police, Procecutors, Adolf Guiliani, Adolf Bush, and many other people…People that have been APPREHENDED should be considered CRIMINALS because…why else would they have been APPREHENDED.

    I Hope Adolf is not elected…or even wins the PRIMARY.

    As u can see, with Adolf Bush, he wants to get rid of:

    The concept of the Warrent
    The concept of having any legal defense
    The concept of the Hearing
    The concept of the Trial
    The concept of limiting the time of apprehension before having a hearing or a trial.

    I love America…and I’ really sad to see what has happened.

    Our Founding 4-Fathers created these protections b-cause politics, corruption, and ill wills can lead to innocent people having their lives terribly distrupted.

  32. Sorry Alice.

  33. Actually I am seeing more and more a parallel between the WOD and the War on terrorism. They both seem to be niche issues in which politicians are using fear to slowly take away all our right under the guise of safety.

    It also parallels the WOD in how they look at outcomes. By this I mean if they say drug use is going down they follow it up with OK now we need to push harder aka More $$$$, conversly if they say drug use is on the rise they also claim they need to redouble the efforts aka MORE $$$$, thus either way they can continue their war and claim to need more funding, they can not lose with this tactic.

    Now they are doing it with the war on terror. The exact same things are said and done. If they say they are thinning them out they claim to need to push to get it done, if the terrorists are regrouping we claim we need to do more. Either way they get to keep claiming a need as justification for more $$$$ and stripping our rights from us.

    Look at how many rights have been shit on in the name of the WoD over the past 30 years. Now compare that to what we have seen happen to our rights just since 9/11. Very parallel in ideology so much so its scary. Between these two wars (one directly against its own citizens no less) the politicians are making themselves right at home stripping us of our freedoms while really doing nothing to protect us from anything.

  34. “Our Founding 4-Fathers created these protections b-cause politics, corruption, and ill wills can lead to innocent people having their lives terribly distrupted.”

    An article in yesterday pointed out how George W. Bush is the President that our Founding Fathers feared would someday come to power.

  35. Dee,plus the flood of laws are making criminals out of everyone.I used to belong to a golf club.After playing we’d sit in the clubhouse and drink beer and play poker.A friend of mine whose still a member said they were told by the owners That they had to stop the practice.You see it’s a felony to engage in gambling in an establishment that serves alcohol in Ohio.

  36. I Agree Dee

    I believe the issue is that the Magna Carta is NO LONGER in effect in the USA.

    In short The Magna Carta required the King (and all of the Kings Men) to be subjected to ALL of the Rules the King comes up with. That is, no violation of the King’s own rules with Impunity.

    2-Day, that doesn’t exists. Cops that catch each other in DUI infractions are simply let go once they flash a badge. The President is quick to Pardon or Commute crimes against his friends/supporters. Judges appointed by that president are quick to DISMISS cases against the Presidents friends as well.

    Adolf Guiliani is quick to OUTLAW potsmoking and make it a BIG CRIME…because he probably doesn’t smoke…and wants to impose his values on people.


    Last I heard…Committing Adultary made God’s Top Ten. I didn’t see Pot Smoking up there.

  37. We really need some protection from the politicians these days if anything. I know what you mean about the poker. we had to stop playing in bars here because they threatened to take away the bars liquor license. Nevermind that the bar did not get a cut of the entry fees only what they sold to the participants. To me its no different than darts or pool or any other game of chance you play in a bar. The bars hold the events and pay out all the entry fees in order to get patrons into their establishment. According to the intrepretation of the law it would appear all they want you to do at a bar is buy drinks, thats all. They tried this last state leg. session to repeal the law but it got shot down. After all why would a pol with his pockets lined from the casino boats down the street want to allow such a thing. They much rather you go to the boat and blow all your money there.

    For some reason its not so morally wrong to piss away your money at a flashy casino and they have no problem with you doing so, none at all. Yet if you want to gamble a little without them getting their cut thats unhealthy and ripe with problems. Yeah the only problem is the right people aren’t getting paid, same as every other fucking problem they invent. Pay the man off problem goes away, amazing.

  38. It’s too bad the 83 year old woman and her son didn’t kill the damned despicable stormtroopers who broke into their home. I wouldn’t shed a single tear over the thugs who bled out on the nice lady’s carpet. I’d be more concerned over her carpet and her broken door.

    Maybe when swat teams and drug task forces start having to drag their entire entry teams out in body bags they’ll be a little more careful or just stop the practice of dynamic entry all together.

    In fact when i see a swat team going through a door I feel myself hoping that every one of the bastards gets killed by the people who they’re terrorizing.

    If they’re engendering that sort of response from someone from a family of Police officers, from someone who is as law abiding as they come maybe they should re-think what they’re doing. I mean if you’ve got the most law abiding hoping you get killed doing your “job” then there is something terribly wrong with your “job”.

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