SWAT

Local Police Chief Super Sad He Was Forced to Buy Badass Armored Vehicle

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Dispatch from the SWATification of America: As the war(s) wind down, local police forces are gearing up. Some great coverage in The New York Times about the flow of armored vehicles, aircraft, and night vision goggles into American communities. 

The Times quotes a "more in sorrow than in anger" line from a local police chief:

"I don't like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid," he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions. "We're not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say 'Good enough.' "

And then calls him out on his historical illiteracy:

Congress created the military-transfer program in the early 1990s, when violent crime plagued America's cities and the police felt outgunned by drug gangs. Today, crime has fallen to its lowest levels in a generation, the wars have wound down, and despite current fears, the number of domestic terrorist attacks has declined sharply from the 1960s and 1970s.

map of cops
NYT

Perhaps the juiciest bit: 

In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war.

"You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.'s and to defeat law enforcement techniques," Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department told the local Fox affiliate, referring to improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs. Sergeant Downing did not return a message seeking comment.

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  1. “We’re not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say ‘Good enough.’ “

    Well, someone has to escalate things.

  2. I am upset that there are no glass domes over the cities to keep the flying monkeys out.

  3. The “buy” part in the headline is a bit misleading, and misses maybe the most insidious part of this: the military gear is close to free (other than TANSSAAFL) for the police chiefs. It’s all surplus; much of it is slated to be destroyed if no one takes it. That makes it much, much easier for all these police departments to justify acquiring the gear.

    Another side effect of war.

    1. Especially since government agencies, unlike businesses, don’t seem to ever have to justify *operating and maintenance* costs – only initial purchase costs are important to them.

      1. That’s the bright side: I bet a bunch of this equipment goes without maintenance and stops working. That night vision won’t work with dead batteries.

      2. I’m betting most, if not all, of them will be rusting in the back parking lot in a year or two. The first time they send the city manager a bill for (DOD-level contractor!) new tires and shocks – the gungho chief will suddenly decide a new cop car is a higher priority than his combat vehicle.

        1. Or, more likely, asset-forfeiture sharing by joining that sweet new federal task force will start looking real good.

  4. officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war

    Yeah, they don’t see the populace as the enemy or anything.

    1. Yeah, there have just been so many attacks by veterans.

      1. The problem is, and not being seditious here, there is no practical way for LEO to train to a level to fight off veterans bent on destruction. And so the cycle perpetuates itself …

        We all need to, as a country, and on many levels back slowly away from the cliff we are approaching.

      2. You mean “Rambo” was not a documentary?

    2. Look, if veterans trained in the fabrication and use of high explosives wanted to target cops, obviously they’d put landmines all up and down public streets by disguising them with sand, leafs, and other common street debris.

      I can’t figure out if these people are this foolish, whether they take for granted that everyone else is this foolish, or whether they’re content to allow noises to escape from their mouths in the hopes that people will mistake them for a good argument.

      1. leafs

        While 90% of my Reason posts are the consequence of either under wage-earning duress or alcohol-fueled impishness, I have no excuse this evening.

  5. You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.’s and to defeat law enforcement techniques

    Are they the only ones who have the knowledge to build a ditch? Or use a super-duper powerful *hunting* rifle to penetrate the armor?

    Do these police have the knowledge to utilize the vehicle they’re getting properly? MRAPs aren’t really that much protection – like flack vests, they’re there to turn marginally lethal encounters into somewhat survive-able ones.

    Cops don’t convoy and every bit of their tactics are predicated on operating in a fairly benign environment where your not going to be attacked on the way to the incident you’re responding to.

    So, an MRAP won’t do them any good. They don’t *need* it to get to the incident site and its of no-use once they’re on-site.

    1. Hey, did you see “Attack on Precinct 13”??!!!!

      IT’S A GODDAMNED WAR OUT THERE!!!

        1. Get. Out. Of. My. HEAD!

    2. And, now that I think of it, that statement is double derp.

      The US military doesn’t teach its soldiers and marines to *make* IEDs. It teaches them how to recognize, avoid, and pre-maturely detonate them.

    3. Wait — they’re blaming our national heroes and accusing them of crimes before they commit any? All so they can pretend to be warriors like the real warriors they are throwing under the bus?

  6. Why relatively so many MRAPs in the South?

    1. Why are there so many in New Mexico???

      1. And, apparently, none in Mississippi?

        1. And Alaska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and DC…

          1. Which is strange as NH recently made the news from protests against Concord’s (or was it Nashua’s?) purchase of MRAPs.

      2. Indians man.

    2. Why else? SOCONZ!!!!!!!!!!!(!!!)!!!!!!!

  7. Today, crime has fallen to its lowest levels in a generation, the wars have wound down, and despite current fears, the number of domestic terrorist attacks has declined sharply from the 1960s and 1970s.

    And then, the New York Times finished with “even so, we must ban all guns from private ownership, so that only trained law enforcement has them.”

  8. Check me on this one Mr. Policeman: first you want to disarm the general population and then you want to swatify the local constabulary? Have I got that right?

  9. I’d like to see per capita, SC, NM and OK really stick out to me.

    1. I would think that, on a per capita basis, NM and OK would look even worse.

      1. Both states feature large Native American populations.

        Just sayin’.

  10. “I don’t like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions. “We’re not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say ‘Good enough.’ “

    The irony is, fewer officers are killed and assaulted today than the average during the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Hell, the 1970’s are the high-water decade for murders of police officers, and it was AFTER that that police went on their authoritarian bent.

    1. It seems like there are a lot of things from the 70’s that these fuckin boomers don’t want to forget. Despite the fact that all of their transgressions followed by Statitist prick responses essentially ruined all the fun for the rest of us

  11. The aircraft and night vision goggles don’t bother me, the armored vehicles seem like a bit much, but there’s no excuse for the machine guns. If something happens that requires machine guns, call the National Guard.

    1. SWAT teams should probably have semi-auto weapons. Normal cops should not barring a most extreme bout of civil unrest where the national guard has proven insufficient and must be augmented.

      1. That’s Commonwealth talk there. What’s next? You want “constables” walking down the streets of NYC, swinging their batons while saying “‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, wha ‘ave we ‘ere, guvnor?”

        1. Don’t forget to alternate between that and “What’s all this then?!”

      2. SWAT teams should probably have semi-auto weapons. Normal cops should not. . .

        I’m not sure what you mean here. I’m all for SWAT having semi-auto but unless you’re saying the beat cop should not have a firearm then what? Single shot black powder?

        Then again, maybe your regular cop *should* be unarmed but for me, it goes against the whole idea of ‘parity’.

        1. They should be at least as heavily armed as the random homeless guy that they plan to bludgeon to death.

      3. SWAT teams should probably have semi-auto weapons. Normal cops should not…

        So you want cops to ditch their Glocks and go back to carrying revolvers?

        Works for me.

        1. Revolvers are semi-auto, too, you know. At least the double-action ones are.

          1. Semi-auto means that the act of firing causes the next round to load. All that’s left to do is drop the hammer. Double-action brings the next round to bear before dropping the hammer. It would already be there if it was semi-automatic. If firing my Model 10 caused the cylinder to turn to the next round and pull back the hammer so all I had to do was touch the trigger to cause it to shoot, then I’d call it semi-automatic. But it doesn’t.

            I googled “semi-automatic revolver” before making my 7:26 post, just to be sure I was technically correct.

      4. I have erred, which is unusual for me. I meant no ‘assault weapons’ for non-SWAT cops, not no Glocks although the revolver-only idea is intriguing.

        1. I have erred, which is unusual for me.

          *snort*

          I meant no ‘assault weapons’ for non-SWAT cops

          *double snort* (assault weapons, as in “scary looking” guns)

          not no Glocks although the revolver-only idea is intriguing

          When you’ve only got six shots, you make them count. As opposed to wildly shooting off ten or more rounds when you feel scared.

          1. When you’ve only got six shots, you make them count. As opposed to wildly shooting off ten or more rounds when you feel scared.

            On the bright side, your average cop has an actual miss-to-hit ratio of about 45:1 when they have to shoot at anything besides a paper target at the range.

          2. But, sarcasmic, officers don’t have the time or dexterity to spend reloading their revolvers while trying to fire 27 bullets at a brown person while standing on the hood of said brown person’s car.

        2. You do know that a pistol grip magically transforms a .22 varmint rifle into an assault weapon, don’t you?

          The term is meaningless.

    2. The ‘machine guns’ are listed as 5.56 and 7.62 mm.

      Odds are they are including assault rifles in with a (relatively) tiny number of actual machine gun transfers.

      1. Technically, I believe a .308 (7.62 NATO) is a battle rifle, not an assault rifle.

        /pedant OFF/

        1. A .22 varmint rifle with a pistol grip can technically be classified as an assault weapon.

          1. But not an ‘assault rifle’ which is what we’re talking about.

        2. I know that – I’m saying that as the entry specifies 5.56 as well as 7.62 (technically SAW’s like the M-240 count as LMG’s) means that they are most likely adding in AR transfers *along* with any actual MG transfers.

          ‘Cause I doubt if they’re passing out many XM214’s (the little cousin of the sweet, sweet M134)

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XM214_Microgun

  12. I hope they don’t intend to invade Warty’s lair with such feeble hardware.

  13. “I don’t like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions.

    In other words, if there’s even a remote chance your dog might bite an officer, he’s target practice.

  14. Q: How many civilian casualties are justified if it means an officer goes home safely?

    A: All of them.

  15. the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions.

    The battle cry of the taxpayer funded bureaucrat, blissfully unburdened by the need to consider such mundane things as “cost”, “opportunity cost”, and “ROI”.

    I have to say, I think the possibility of somebody planting a vehicle-killing IED in Neenah freakin’ Wisconsin may be whatever is even more unlikely than “remote”.

    1. Depends what people Jason Bourque meets in prison and what they teach him.

    2. C’mon RC – have you not read about the rash of vet placed IED, all across Amerikkka?!!

      Yeah, me neither.

      1. I hit one in my driveway yesterday.

  16. Wars abroad always curtail civil liberties at home.

  17. officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war

    If I step on a mine in Scranton Pennsylvania and die, you can have my job, okay?

  18. Posse comitatus prohibits the military being used for domestic law enforcement. However, nowhere does it say that police can’t buy military gear and give their officers military training. A perfect way to skirt the rules.

  19. In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war.

    “You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.’s and to defeat law enforcement techniques,” Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department told the local Fox affiliate, referring to improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs. Sergeant Downing did not return a message seeking comment.

    I presume they purchased these life-saving devices with their own salaries, as I’m sure they didn’t just throw away taxpayer money on the latest set of tits on a boar.

    The wealthier the host, the fatter the leech.

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