Criminal Justice

Any Taxes You Pay Can and Will Be Used Against You

|


Reason contributor Trey Garrison looks at the stimulus wish lists of cities in Texas, and finds lots of toys for cops:

• Frisco wants $125,000 for an armored vehicle and $200,000 for a mobile command vehicle. You know, for all that gang tank warfare going on up in Frisco.

• McKinney wants $5 million for SWAT toys and stuff.

• North Richland Hills wants $51,000 for volunteer patrol volunteers. Let's throw in $10 for a dictionary so they can look up the word "volunteer."

• Irving wants $5 million for biometric scanners, digital cameras, RFID scanners — nothing Big Brother there.

• Grand Prairie wants $1.25 million for nicer landscaping around the public safety building.

• And finally, Arlington is really gearing up for urban warfare. Arlington wants $1.6 million for SWAT toys like military grade carbines, $625,000 for unmanned aerial surveillance drones, and $130,000 for "covert ops"…more equipment for those deadly but camera-friendly no-knock raids…

It isn't just in Texas. For example, I'm thinking the last thing Frank "Worst Mayor in America" Melton of Jackson, Mississippi needs is a Bearcat armored tactical vehicle.

Other examples:

• Sparks, Nevada wants $600,000 to purchase a "live fire" house its SWAT team can shoot up, and another $420,000 for a SWAT armored vehicle.

• Pleasanton, California wants $250,000 to buy a vehicle for its SWAT team.

• Gary, Indiana wants $750,000 for a host of "modernization" upgrades to its police department, including "sub-automatic machine guns" and an "armored vehicl" [sic].

• Hampton, Virginia wants a whopping $3.5 million for "Air Tactical Unit Support and Equipment," which I'm pretty sure means they want a sweet helicopter for the SWAT team.

• Ottawa, Illinois (population: 18,307) wants $60,000 to purchase, among other things, five "tactical entry rifles."

• Glendale Heights, Illinois wants $96,000 to purchase red light cameras, and another $67,000 to hire someone to monitor them.

• Toward a more Orwellian America!  The following cities requested stimulus funds to supplement, initiate, or upgrade public surveillance camera systems: Brockton, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; Burnsville, Minnesota; Caguas, Puerto Rico; Cerritos, California; Columbia, South Carolina; Compton, California; Homestead, Florida; Hormigueros, Puerto Rico; Indianapolis, Indiana; Inglewood, California; Lewiston, Maine; Lorain, Ohio; Lynn, Massachusetts; Marion, Ohio; Merced, California; New Rochelle, New York; North Richland Hills, Texas; Oakland, California; Orange, New Jersey; Orem, Utah; Orlando, Florida; Pembroke Pines, Florida; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Riverdale, Illinois; Shreveport, Louisiana; Silver City, New Mexico; Sumter, South Carolina; Tallahassee, Florida; Warren, Ohio; and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 

Winston-Salem, North Carolina requested just under $85 million in security-related stimulation. But top prize goes to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is asking the rest of the country to stimulte its economy with a whopping $135 million in public safety-related requests.

All in all, America's mayors asking for a little over $5.5 billion in public safety "stimulus."