The 2012 Democratic Platform Promises More Police Militarization


If you want to find the differences between the 2012 Democratic Platform's and the 2012 Republican Platform's approach to criminal justice issues, you'll need a magnifying glass and some tweezers. The differences are mostly in tone, not substance. But there is at least one section in the Democrats' 2012 platform that stuck out to me: 

In the last four years, rates of serious crimes, like murder, rape, and robbery, have reached 50-year lows, but there is more work to do. President Obama and Democrats are fighting for new funding that will help keep cops on the street and support our police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. Republicans and Mitt Romney have opposed and even ridiculed these proposals, but we believe we should support our first responders. We support efforts to ensure our courageous police officers and first responders are equipped with the best technology, equipment, and innovative strategies to prevent and fight crimes.

Calling out Romney for wanting to cut public sector spending is probably breath wasted; promising to funnel battlefield-tested tech and weaponry to local law enforcement agencies, forever and ever, is genius. For, even though the Pentagon has been sharing weapons, tech, and tactics with with local cops for years, opposition to the practice is gaining ground. And considering the extent to which local cops have embraced their new, cheap toys, it's probably a cause for their concern that Americans are increasingly wary of police militarization. 

The last year has seen an unprecedented amount of scrutiny and criticism of the domestic use of drones and armored personel carriers, and the proliferation of military training available to SWAT teams (paid for by asset forfeiture). Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to domestic drones, and the widespread media coverage of his opposition, is also unprecedented. For Democrats to cheerily brag about arming local cops to the teeth, when they clearly don't need anymore weaponry, is worrisome.