Militarization of Police

Despite the (Totally Non-Existent) Threat of "Free Staters" and Other Political Activists, Concord, NH, Cops Can't Get Their Quarter-Million Armored Vehicle (Yet)


Mike Riggs (formerly of Reason) follows-up at the Atlantic on a story I blogged last month about Concord, NH, seeking federal bucks to buy itself an armored vehicle, where, to quote a Union-Leader story:

In its grant application to DHS [to get federal money to buy a Bearcat armored vehicle for over a quarter million taxpayer bucks], the police department said New Hampshire's experience with terrorism "slants primarily towards the domestic type," and said "the threat is real and here."

"Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges," the application stated. In addition to organized groups, it cited "several homegrown clusters that are anti-government and pose problems for law enforcement agencies."

As Riggs now reports:

the BearCat can drive through a hail of bullets, carry a team of soldiers, and be topped…with either a machine gun or a grenade launcher. It is basically the perfect vehicle for an urban war zone. Concord, New Hampshire, with its population of around 42,600 and a violent crime rate of 227 per 100,000 people, is of course not an urban war zone. 

Then again, no town in the United States should theoretically require such weapons, yet cities of every size have them thanks to the Pentagon's congressionally approved "1033 Program." Begun in 1994, the program allows the Department of Defense to donate weapons, vehicles, and equipment to local police departments, regardless of whether they need them (or know how to appropriately use them)…..

On Monday night, protestors flooded the Concord City Council meeting, both to object to Duval's characterization of Occupy New Hampshire and the Free State Project, and to let lawmakers know they don't want a BearCat in their city. According to the Concord Monitor, protestors held signs that read, "More Mayberry less Fallujah" and "Thanks but no tanks." With 150 protestors squeezed inside the meeting, and others protesting peacefully outside, the council agreed to table its vote. 

"It requires much more debate than we have time for tonight," the Monitor reported Councilor Dan St. Hilaire as saying. The city council and its protesters will revisit the BearCat question on Sept. 9.

To understand the non-threat of Free Staters, read my 2004 feature on their genesis and intent in trying to make New Hampshire a more libertarian place.

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  1. You forget. Free Staters want to reduce the power of government and want to reduce the power of police. Not only that, they want to take away the toys the police enjoy using. To police officers and government officials, that’s about as violent as you can get.

  2. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges…

    HOME GROWN TERRORISM! Right in our own back yard. The military, thanks to posse commie-tatus, is powerless to stop them. Or, is it?

    And did I know Riggs was gone?

    1. And did I know Riggs was gone?

      Yeah, when did this happen?

    2. Riggs is at The Atlantic? When did reason become the farm-team for the HuffPo and Atlantic? Obviously, not enough filthy Kochtopus lucre is being spread around.

      Though good on Riggs for taking the Balko route.

  3. “Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges,”

    change your cop diaper chief

    1. present daily challenges,”

      “… to my authoritah!”

      Only think it’s fair to quote him in full.

  4. Stands to reason that the most libertarian state in the nation would be the one most vigorously protesting the militarization of their police force.

    Let them set an example for the rest of the country, and show the other states how to properly constrain the actions of law enforcement.

  5. When did Riggs start slumming at the Atlantic?

  6. Yeah New Hampshire!

  7. They won’t be as safe as they think.
    The Egyptians will just push them off the overpass.

  8. Let’s see, the worst thing I can recall happening in NH involving any of those groups were some sovereign citizen type people who decided that they didn’t have to pay their federal income tax and holed themselves up in their house/compound for a while ( ).
    It eventually ended peacefully. Having something like the bearcat around could only make violence and injury more likely in such a situation.

    1. Not paying your federal income tax is enough to render you a Treasonous Infidel who Doesn’t Want to Pay His Fair Share. That’s enough to warrant a death sentence under proggie logic.

  9. We need this vehicle, and we need it meow!

    1. That’s Vermont, not Connecticut.

      1. All looks the same from Iowa

        1. Which looks the same as Kansas, Nebraska, and several other rectangular states.

  10. “More Mayberry less Fallujah”


  11. protestors flooded the Concord City Council meeting


  12. “It requires much more debate than we have time for tonight,”

    If 150 people show up to protest a decision in a town of 40,000, the debate should be over. Unless you really, really want that armored personnel carrier/urban assault vehicle to use against your citizens.

    Time to recall the town council.

  13. im from and live in NH, and I have not noticed any of this (although it’s awesome that i dont have to do anything to get the potential benefits of the movement). my point isnt that fsp is a dumb idea, it’s that, regardless of your ideology, it’s not the end of the world (or the state)

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