Militarization of Police

Ex-Cop Chides Raided Mayor for Criticizing the SWAT Team That Nearly Killed Him


A former Prince George's County police officer and Crofton, Maryland, police chief wrote a letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun in response to the paper's articles about the first batch of statistics produced by the state's SWAT team transparency bill (the subject of my column earlier this week).

Over at The Agitator, I've responded to the letter point by point.

NEXT: No Cheers For Bipartisanship

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  1. That letter is something else. All sorts of baseless assertions about how dangerous these raids are, but not so much as one antidote let alone statistic to back up his claims that drug raids had gotten too dangerous to be handled without a SWAT team.

    And then there is this classic

    “Prior to this incident in Berwyn Heights, there had been no public outcry for anyone to micro-manage SWAT teams. Every year thousands of barricade and hostage incidents, as well as thousands of warrant raids, are carried out across the nation. Only a tiny percentage of those operations result in serious injuries to suspects, hostages or officers.”

    Yeah, until they kicked down a mayor’s door, shot his dogs and terrorized his wife and mother in law no one had a problem with this. That is just like no one had a problem with Hitler until he invaded Poland.

  2. If he’d had a gun in his home for self protection, he’d almost certainly be dead.

    As would be at least one of the perps.

    Nicely done, Radley.

    1. Ah, now there’s a wonderful image for sure…. 🙂

  3. Schweinsberg is hardly an Ellie Light. I am not so sure he had any other intention than to give his opinion. Is that not the purpose of a letter to the editor?

  4. I also love the “if mistakes were made” line. They broke into the wrong house, killed two family pets and terrorized two innocent women for two hours and this guy won’t even concede that any mistakes were made.

    1. Which why we have the Fourth Amendment in the first place.

      1. That’s a good one, PL. You used the present tense in that sentence.

        1. Oh, we still have it. We just need to reimpose it on the government, apparently.

          1. They still have a copy of it in a museum, somewhere in DC.

            1. In a nuclear attack-proof underground safe (when not on display).

              If only our actual liberties were so well protected.

              1. Guarded by a robot that thinks he’s Button Gwinnett, right?

                1. Of course. I still carry his wig around.

    2. and, of course, there’s the old “…mistakes were made…” line. No actual, individual persons made the mistakes (IF they were made), they were just made. Mistakes make themselves, don’t ya know.

  5. those mistakes were no doubt identified and appropriate training and policy modifications put in place.

    Stop it; yer killin’ me.

    1. Excuse me while I piss on your head. Don’t worry it is just rain.

  6. Over the years it became apparent that narcotics raids were becoming more and more dangerous for officers.

    And, as we all know, it is better (far, far, better) that the lives of a hundred civilians should be sacrificed for the safety of one officer.

    1. It’s absurd. Police officers take oaths to protect the public, but will gladly put the public in harms way to protect themselves. You’d hope it would be the other way around, that when they say they are going out and putting their lives on the line to protect the public from criminals they really meant it. But alas, through their own words they reveal themselves for the fucking cowards they actually are.

      1. You’ve hit the nail on the head. Many of these witless boobs ARE cowards. They want greater rights than those of us they are vested to protect. In-fucking-credible.

        1. What irritates me the most is how they will wax on endlessly about how dangerous their job is, as if huge sacrifices are being made for the public good, but all of that bravado evaporates at the sign of any actual real danger. It’s pathetic, and it’s sad. You’d think that any cop who whines on about how he should be allowed to terrorize the public because of the mere potential of danger to himself would be embarrassed by what he is saying, but for some reason it just pumps them up even more.

  7. Do police officers make a pledge to “defend the laws and the Constitution?” Or just one to “catch bad guys by any means necessary?”

    1. They swear to uphold the Constitution. What they don’t tell you is that it’s a different constitution than the one we know and love. It’s got a whole article on shooting dogs.

      1. Is that in Article I?

        1. No. Article I speaks to their very special place atop society and how laws designed for the common man don’t apply to them.

          Shooting dogs rises from a “penumbra” of the Right to Supreme Dickheadedness and the Freedom of the Power-mad Assholes with a Badge and a Gun, both of which are set out in the Bill of Fifes.

          1. Their version says that civilians are 3/5th of a person. For legal purposes.

            1. Nicely played, PL

  8. I’ve said it a million times and here’s 1,000,001: civilian review boards with fang-like teeth in every jurisdiction. These people work for us, they should answer to us.

    Really, if you haven’t urged your locality to do this you should. Letters to your local paper or your local pols are a good place to start. Keep saying it until they listen, and vote accordingly.

  9. Christ, what an asshole.

    1. Did you just call me an asshole?

  10. SWAT cops lack balls. Thats why they are on SWAT, to make up for their little to no balls.


  11. anbots pithy comments “their little to no balls” almost make me want to click his link so he earns a penny or two

  12. Article’s best line- They are not just people who “dress up in military gear and kick in doors.” Perhaps if Mayor Calvo had ever had to face such danger he would understand.”

    Seems to me he faced that danger.

    1. … and now understands

  13. But if you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.

    Down, Fido!

  14. I suppose the cops in this country all got together and had a conspiracy meeting to steal our 4th amendment and do lots of drug raids on innocent people? Really, guys this paranoia has got to stop. These are hard working people just doing their job, and don’t go all Godwin on me. Comparing this to hitler is a insult to jews. The anti-semites around here are really getting on my nerves.

    1. If this was the only form of employment I was capable of getting I would sooner move into the woods and worry about shooting dinner for the day. People that take these jobs and use the old “well it is just my job” bullshit are lying to themselves. When that is the best thing you can come up with to defend your existence in a position you obviously know your position is indefensible and your all but saying so. Then when they get killed and want us to cry for them when it was their own tactics that get them killed, PLEASE. Jews have nothing to do with the drug war btw.

    2. I didn’t see any Hitler references upthread.

      I also don’t see how these arse wipes were “just doing their job” – I read all the reported accounts of the story when it occurred and was amazed at the lack of anything resembling police investigative work or professionalism. They just couldn’t wait to put on the kevlar and boots and go storming into the house and squeeze off a few rounds in a residential area to dispatch Woofie and Bowser to prevent them from shedding or drooling on the officers’ tactical pants.

      In a USA where the Fourth Amendment meant anything, these pricks would not only be out of a job, they would have criminal charges brought before them and face civil liability to the family, who was incredibly wronged.

      1. Not “before” them – against them.

    3. Did someone call me? Hmmm…must have been teh Joos again.

  15. OK, I’ve read the supreme asshole’s letter and now I have to clean off my computer screen from the blood that came shooting out of my eye sockets.

    Thanks, Radley.

  16. Yes they did. We have video.

    By the way, would you like to buy a raffle ticket? First prize is a “motivational presentation” hosted by Mistress Deanna.

  17. Their version says that civilians are 3/5th of a person. For legal purposes.

    Does that mean I can just pay 3/5 of my tax bill?

    1. No. 3/5ths of your money goes to taxes.

      1. Ah, a scholar.

  18. BTW, love the Kaplan University auto-ad that comes up on this article with the chubby cop claiming that copping is the toughest job anywhere.

    1. Aye, I laughed at that!

      1. …well, I laughed till the cops knocked down my door and “helped me understand” how their job is the toughest anywhere. I missed some of it through the gunfire, but I got the message!

        1. How’s your dog?

  19. …this increased the efficiency of the police operations and enhanced the safety of everyone involved, from citizens to officers to suspects.

    Emphasis mine. Fuck you pig.

    1. What could be safer than being in Family Pet Heaven? It’s for teh pets…

  20. Damn you to hell, Balko. Thanks to you, I started drinking again.

  21. Schweinsburg is a schwein.

  22. In all fairness: I saw the SWAT team in Seattle serve a warrant on and arrest my neighbor about 10 years ago.

    It was 2 guys and they showed up in plain clothes, and each had a holstered sidearm. One guy knocked on the front door while the other went around back.

    I have no idea what the charge was, but the officer I spoke to said that SWAT is used for this between hostage type situations.

    Granted, a lot can change in 10 years, but it seems that Seattle tends to not have too many of these bad SWAT outcomes.

  23. “Approximately 30 years ago, law enforcement agencies began to be established in reaction to serious challenges facing law enforcement.”

    What. the. fuck?

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