Militarization of Police

Meet a Town That's Had Enough of Militarized Policing

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Barry Township PD
Barry Township PD Facebook page

Barry Township, Michigan, with a population of about 4,000, has four full-time police officers, four part-time officers, two Humvees, two armored personnel carriers (free, courtesy of the Defense Department's 1033 program)—and, until recently, about three dozen unpaid but armed and empowered reserve police officers patrolling the streets. All those cops need to find something to do with themselves, and many of the people of Barry Township are more than a bit bent out of shape that they've been on the receiving end of that something.

Writes L.L. Brasier of the Detroit Free Press:

Early morning May 10, Jack Nadwornik stepped behind Tujax Tavern, the bar and restaurant he has owned for 30 years in this small, western Michigan town.

Nadwornik, out drinking with friends for his 58th birthday, urinated in a corner of the empty parking lot because the bar was locked up.

Within seconds, two Barry Township police cars and three officers — two of them unpaid reserves — confronted him as he was zipping up his pants. What happened next is up for debate: Police said he resisted arrest. Nadwornick said he didn't, and a waitress who was leaving work agreed.

What everyone does agree on is the aftermath: Nadwornik had a broken hand from a police baton, bloody elbows, and he had been kneed in the back. He was handcuffed, jailed and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, a two-year felony.

If this was just a one-off incident, Nadwornik's friends would be bent out of shape and his lawyer would be prepping a lawsuit. But this is only one high-profile incident in a sleepy town where people complain that the cops are out of control, and police chief Victor Pierce justifies his paramilitary machine on the grounds of "terrorism, barricaded gunmen and mass shootings."

Oh, yeah. And God.

"I have preached a vision and the Lord put me here for a reason," he told the township board.

Barry Township
Barry Township

The township's insurance company finally forced the police chief to make his small army of reserve officers stand down and confine themselves to special events (it also forced the town of Oakley, population 290, to put its army of 100 reserve officers on ice).

After a packed town meeting last night that had to be moved to the high school to accommodate attendees, the township board unanimously voted to review Pierce's continuing employment in a special meeting to be held tonight.* A notice of the meeting occupies the township Website's entire front page.

So, one small step in rolling back the militarization of modern policing? Or just the latest bit of evidence that law enforcement in the United States has gone full-on into occupying enemy territory mode?

That might depend on the outcome of tonight's the meeting.

*The meeting is being rescheduled because of what sounds like public-notice requirements.

H/T to Geoffrey S. Nathan

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  1. Within seconds, two Barry Township police cars and three officers ? two of them unpaid reserves ? confronted him as he was zipping up his pants.

    When seconds don’t count, fake cops are only seconds away.

    1. “the Lord put me here for a reason”

      To demonstrate how ridiculous and dangerous strident “defenders of law and order” can be. That they are really empire builders on the tax payer dime.

      1. Sometimes that reason is that you are incredibly stupid, and the lord wants to wake up the blind to the terrorism by the government

  2. Volunteer sociopaths.

    FREEZE! EX-POLICE!

    1. I’d watch that on Comedy Central. A follow-on to Reno 911, but involving an incompetent A-Team roster of militarized ex-police wreaking justice on some flyover town, one botched investigation and bloodied victim at a time.

      1. Your parents probably DID watch it.

        http://snltranscripts.jt.org/77/77cxpolice.phtml

        1. 37 years ago, that was comedy. Now it’s reality. I’m sad.

  3. Yet another argument in favor of keeping government as small as possible. Contrast this with what it would take to get the head of the DEA fired (hint: not possible).

    1. I don’t know? if the head of the DEA endorsed legalization or decriminalization, that might get him/her fired.

    2. Jordan: Now, now. Let’s not be afraid of a word. Government is what could prevent this sort of thing.

  4. “the town of Oakley, population 290, to put its army of 100 reserve officers on ice”

    Wait, what?

    1 in 3 people in a town of less than 300 is a cop?!

    1. Where did it say the cops were residents?

    2. The reserve officers there are all (mostly) metro-detroiters who can then get a box checked on their CPL that lets them carry in schools, theaters, and stadiums, which are usually off limits.

      Sounds like Barry is a bit different on that.

      1. I used to carry in my sock, and we’d smoke back to back so we could keep an eye out for cops. Thank goodness decriminalization is just arund the corner.

        1. lol thank goodness for e-ciggs nobody even notices the difference unless they do

    3. That goes with my thought that the way to equalize things is for everybody to become police.

  5. Keep the volunteers, let Pierce and the pros go.

    1. and there’s this annoying song
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI9D4q8pLuw

  6. police chief Victor Pierce justifies his paramilitary machine on the grounds of “terrorism, barricaded gunmen and mass shootings.”

    This fucking clown should be in a straitjacket.

    1. ^this.

      If the terrorists are coming after the good citizens of Barry Township, MI, then that means that ISIS has already over run the rest of the country.

    2. The mayor in a city near where I live justified their being given an APC on the grounds that there is a subclass of criminals with automatic weapons who are more than happy to murder cops. The last time a cop on his force was shot was 1988. Before that 1958. And before that 1925. That’s it. Three downed officers. Ever. Yet he needs an APC to combat a subculture of cop killers armed with fully automatic weapons. Law enforcement lives in a different world than the rest of us.

      1. When locally elected government works, it can be wonderful. Unfortunately it is very vulnerable to the kind of pillock who ran for class president in high school, but who has no measurable administrative ability and zero sense.

      2. Nope. We all live in the same militarized world. It’s just that it’s a little closer to the surface in the USA nowadays.

  7. “He was handcuffed, jailed and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, a two-year felony.”

    Whaaaat? You mean he wasn’t put on the Sex Offender Registry for the rest of his life too? How could they have missed this?

    1. Anon, if he’s charged and convicted of indecent exposure, he may have register as a sex offender.

      He should call this crew. . .
      http://www.michigan-sex-offens…..osure.html

  8. And, what about the dog?

  9. Remember Watertown, CT!!!!

  10. Looks like Pierce is trying to squirm off the hook by using procedures, etc. Good luck with that buddy! 🙂

    A visit to the website lists:

    Due to the requirements for web-site posting, no action will be taken at tonight’s scheduled meeting.

    The board will reschedule the Special meeting tonight.

  11. I talk to my 16 year old son a lot to see how him and his friends view things in life, to get some perspective on what this generation thinks.

    He says that none of his friends respect law officers, they know not to submit to searches, and for the most part, have libertarian views.

    I take some credit because I educate him and his friends a lot, but its a good sign, I guess.

    If police keep going against the populace, this won’t end well.

  12. This town sounds like another dreadful little crap hole called Piperton, Tennessee: A completely unnecessary police department filled with about a dozen punks they call “police”.

    1. SThey should call the town’s insurance company!

  13. Cop-hate aside, 58 years old and still going out and getting drunk & stupid with your buddies to the point where you need to whip it out and take a leak in the parking lot?

    Pure class.

    1. That’s irrelevant. It’s none of my business if you whip it out and take a leak in your own parking lot.

      Nor is it the business of a police force that views you and I as enemy combatants.

    2. Yeah, that totally merits “a broken hand from a police baton, bloody elbows, and [being] kneed in the back.”

    3. I agree wholeheartedly with your feeling of righteous indignation at a man who would actually urinate outdoors. But if you had read the story really carefully you’d have learned that the man in question was the owner of the bar.

  14. “I have preached a vision and the Lord put me here for a reason,”

    Now, I am a Evangelical Christian and believe that this is POSSIBLE. However, I don’t see it as very likely.

    Given that, perhaps the Lord did put him there for a reason, to show others how not to act.

    1. Nobody is completely useless they can always serve as a bad example

  15. “the Lord put me here for a reason”

    To demonstrate how ridiculous and dangerous strident “defenders of law and order” can be. That they are really empire builders on the tax payer dime.

  16. Perhaps we could have a new constitutional amendment: “The right of the people to take a whiz or a dump shall not be infringed, and no person defecating on his or her private property — or with the permission thereof — may be fined, harassed, arrested, or otherwise adversely bothered by the authorities.”

  17. What I love about this story is that the township was finally saved from overzealous police by — the town’s insurance company!

  18. United States has an average of 245 police officers per 100,000 population, or .2 per 1000

    So a population of 4000 with justify .8 police officers

    The problem, of course, is there are 24 hours in a day. If you go to a regional police force, it might take an hour for someone to show up, even if there’s nothing else going on. Welcome to rural America and why people need guns for self-defense.

    1. Another lobbyist heard from…

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  20. This reminds me of when people in small towns who wholeheartedly supported the Iraq War in 2003 because they believed Saddam Hussein would attack their homes.

    They were so seriously deluded and brainwashed I wanted to scream.

  21. Now, it would be great if all those reservists were really interested in policing and keeping their town a nice, safe place to live. But I seriously doubt all of them are so inclined.

    More likely is that these reservists have met the minimum requirements, do the minimum hours just to get some perks, like a badge and ID card that gets them leeway on tickets and some special perks (CCW permits or police status for discounts).

    Small towns can be a great place for cops to develop good “people skills” and learn diplomacy. They can also be dangerous due to a lack of support – both in back-up and public support. That said, most small town folks want Officer Friendly, not Robocop. Most local folks know they’re likely to get warned several times by local cops before getting a ticket or arrested.

    There’s no reason a town of 4,000 needs more than one armored vehicle and even that one unit is debatable if the county or nearby towns have one that can be borrowed.

  22. “two Barry Township police cars and three officers ? two of them unpaid reserves ”

    Sounds like a lot of cops for a guy relieving him self in a parking lot….

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