Campus Cops Are All About the Military Swag, Too (Cameras? Not So Much)

|

MRAP
Wikimedia Commons

Local police departments aren't the only authorities arming themselves to the teeth with ex-military stuff. As Politico notes, campus cops at universities all over the country are also receiving re-purposed combat equipment:

Florida International University campus police have military-grade rifles. Ohio State has a Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle. And Florida State has a brand new Army Humvee. These Pentagon hand-me-downs are just a few examples of the militarization of local police that has extended to college campuses — raising fresh questions about exactly why police departments would need such defense-grade hardware. …

Most items distributed through the Defense Logistics Agency's Law Enforcement Support Office go to state and municipal government agencies. But a recent Freedom of Information Act request by MuckRock revealed that more than 100 college campuses with sworn-in police departments also participate in the 1033 program as of last December.

The institutions include community colleges, large research universities, liberal arts campuses and entire college systems.

It's not all armored cars and crowd-suppression gas—some colleges have received furniture and office supplies from the federal program that distributes the goods. Even so, why does OSU need an armored car? OSU football fans are a crazy bunch, but still.

The average college town probably doesn't have quite as fraught a relationship between cop and citizen as does Ferguson, Missouri. But students also endure unjust police encounters all the time. The kind of extreme incident for which campus cops claim they need military equipment—an active shooter, for instance—is extremely rare. Over-aggressive campus policing, on the other hand, is not.

If colleges really wanted to protect students lives and their rights, they would require their police forces to wear cameras. But as University of Florida Dean of Students Jen Day Shaw told Politico, that doesn't seem to be a top priority:

But those questions are more about creating a welcoming environment for students and how campus cops can use existing technology in the best way possible — for example, should police have on-person cameras that record confrontations with students?

"I'm not hearing a lot of the anti-police buzz," Shaw said. "We're really focusing more on the educational side of things."

Advertisement

NEXT: Cali's Gov. Brown Signs 'First of Its Kind' Cellphone Kill Switch Bill

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If colleges really wanted to protect students lives and their rights, they would require their police forces to wear cameras.

    Not if it gets in the way of officer safety.

  2. The kind of extreme incident for which campus cops claim they need military equipment?an active shooter, for instance

    Could somebody tell me once and for all how an MRAP helps to respond to an active shooter?

    1. It gives them something to safely cower behind while they wait for the shooter to run out of ammunition.

    2. Just you wait until an active shooter has taken the time to mine the approaches to the building they are attacking.

  3. You never know when those accused rapists who couldn’t prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt will start to get dangerous.

  4. Two words: rabid wolverines.

  5. Careful, that MRAP might Transform into a giant, killer robot that chases Shia LeBouf around the campus, recklessly endangering young wimminz in belly shirts.

    Seriously, an MRAP on a campus? Preposterous doesn’t begin to describe this madness.

  6. they need something bulletproof to hide in until the shooter takes his own life.

  7. Universities think they are their own cities,and suck up tax dollars from this ,student loans,state funds and some ,like OSU,from their pro sports teams.They even have their own court system.

  8. These Pentagon hand-me-downs are just a few examples of the militarization of local police that has extended to college campuses ? raising fresh questions about exactly why police departments would need such defense-grade hardware. …

    Certainly not for dealing with any objections from the “compliant generation”, aka Millenials in Reason-speak

    1. Obedience and respect for authority have to be taught in college.

  9. OSU football fans are a crazy bunch, but still.

    Just because the only time your shitbirds school has beaten us in over a decade was the Fickell season after the NCAA dropped the hammer on us because a couple of players traded private property for goods and services.

    Michigan sucks so bad, I might excuse OSU cops from getting the MRAP. We might need it to repel the invasion of refugees from your fucked up state.

    O-H…

  10. The children of the 60’s whatever movements are now in charge.

  11. Why don’t they just sell these things to people like me? We will pay the market price for them too!

    Oh right, I’m just a veteran and I vote for the 3rd party candidates so I’m 2/3rds a terrorist right there. Also, they have no motive to actually get a good price out of them.

    1. But they’re getting the price they ask for them…a cowed populace.

      1. If the “they” you speak of is the military, I don’t think they care. If the “they” is Congress, I don’t think that they are smart enough to think that far ahead. If the “they” is the police, I’m not sure they are smart enough and I wasn’t speaking about them (I was talking to the seller).

  12. raising fresh questions about exactly why police departments would need such defense-grade hardware

    So the campus can be gun-free, of course.

    Ironically the “gun-free campus” movement started in 1970, as a result of the Kent State University and Jackson State College, and was concerned with getting government guns banned from campus.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.