Militarization of Police

Police Requests for Military Gear Are Not About Fighting Terrorism

Mother Jones reveals hundreds of documents detailing local PDs requests for "combat style weapons, trucks, and armor" from the Pentagon.

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Mother Jones' Molly Redden has revealed more than 450 requests by police departments to the

"…or the terrorists win."
Wikimedia

 Pentagon's "1033 program," which over the past two decades has distributed more than five and a half billion dollars of surplus military gear, vehicles and weaponry to local PDs. 

As U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to wind down, the federal government has been left with a glut of weapons and equipment, and many police departments want to get their hands on as much of it as they can.

What is striking about Mother Jones' analysis of the requests is that they rarely focus on using the gear to defend against terrorism, mass shooters, or hostage sieges. Instead, when it comes to requesting a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle (MRAP), "the single most common reason agencies requested (an MRAP) was to combat drugs."

Expressing a dire need for their small towns to possess the same weaponized armored vehicles used to storm Fallujah, law enforcement enumerated reasons such as maintaining a "presence" at Ohio State football games and patrolling Delaware beach towns during the summer. To underscore the continually blurred lines between the military and police, a Florida sheriff's department requested a vehicle capable of carrying enough "troops" necessary to serve search warrants.  

Among the requests for militarized equipment to be used on threats unrelated to terrorism:

Law enforcement agencies claimed they needed MRAPs to safeguard trailer parks,shopping mallstheme parksHalloween festivals, and Lambeau Field.

Redden concedes some requests were not so outlandish:

But for every bizarre request, there were legitimate-seeming claims of true danger. A few agencies noted that they had recovered high-powered weapons in raids or claimed run-ins with heavily armed cartel members. Some sheriffs were distressed about white supremacy groups and sovereign citizens. A police chief in Centralia, Washington, without giving specifics, said an armored vehicle had once saved his life. Many agencies argued that they couldn't pay for an armored vehicle any other way. 

Still, the preponderance of requests had little or nothing to do with addressing situations that SWAT teams were originally conceived to deal with: 

Out of the total 465 requests, only 8 percent mention the possibility of a barricaded gunman. For hostage situations, the number is 7 percent, for active shooters, 6 percent. Only a handful mentioned downed officers or the possibility of terrorism.

Redden quotes Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University as saying:

This is a great example of how police as an institution talk to each other privately, versus how they talk to the public and journalists who might raise questions about what they're doing with this equipment.

It should come as no surprise that the war on drugs is the main rationale for the rise in militarized police, as the 1033 program was born of drug prohibition. The New York Times recalls:

Congress created the program in the 1990s as a way to help the police fight drug crime and violence. After 9/11, as the military ramped up to fight two wars, the program grew in the name of fighting terrorism. Lately, police departments big and small have been outfitting themselves with aircraft, night-vision goggles and trucks built to survive buried roadside bombs.

Mother Jones' commendable work in uncovering the raw data illuminating the bureaucratic path which sends instruments of war from the Middle East to Middle America is worth a thorough look.

You can check out all 467 police department's pleas to the Pentagon for surplus military equipment here.

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118 responses to “Police Requests for Military Gear Are Not About Fighting Terrorism

  1. Shit when I’m stoned on the drugs I can rip those things apart with my bare hands. Plus I’m bullet proof.

      1. What the media doesn’t know is that it also let’s you read minds.

      2. Flakka mixed with Jenkem!

    1. Well shit, I just saw a local news story where a 70 lb. ten year old girl on some scary new synthetic marijuoowjuaner, took 3 fully armored tanks full of brave peace officers and juggled them like cats! And then, she threw all of them like 100 feet in the air! And then they had to call in like 1000 brave noble officers from surrounding jurisdictions, who were then finally able to take her out with some help from the US airforce.

      Is this what you want on your playgrounds, America? Why do you think they call it dope?

  2. Hey, Geardo cops…you want to get your military on? Find a recruiting center and make an appointment.

    1. You know they don’t want that. It’s so dangerous!!!

      1. And besides, you can’t get your revenge on society when the society you’re in isn’t actually the one you resent.

        1. A society that actually perceives the police the exact way that the police perceive them? And doesn’t hesitate to act on threats and intimidation with equal force, with absolutely zero regard of their uniforms, and titles?

    2. But then they’d need to take orders instead of giving them.

    3. Do you actually want these corrupt, dumbshit cowards in the military, potentially being relied upon in life or death situations?

      1. Well, not integrated. The Blue Corps goes in first as a human wave to clear out the minefields and reveal the defenders positions before the more valuable troops begin their advance.

        1. Damn, UnCiv…it’s like you’ve been to Command and General Staff College!!!!

    4. How many of these assholes were rejected by the armed army and probably a slew of police departments before finally landing their gigs?

      1. I can’t even edit myself while I type. How could I be trusted with the grave responsibilities of an edit button?

    5. But then they couldn’t go home every night.

  3. Congress created the program in the 1990s as a way to help the police fight drug crime and violence.

    Yep, nothin’ better for “fighting violence” than heavy military equipment.

    1. I find hopping in my MRAP to be a strong deterrent to having to accept other’s opinions in all debates… Heated or otherwise.

      That’s win-win-win (assuming three consecutive arguments I’m losing) to me!!

  4. ” To underscore the continually blurred lines between the military and police”

    If the Posse Comitatus Act prevents the military branches from policing, you just militarize the police.

  5. Do these MRAPS come with money for driver training, maintenance, and spare parts?

    1. Used parts are super cheap. There’s virtually no market outside of scrap.

      1. The spare tires that cost $2500 each… are those cheap?

        1. When you spend someone else’s money on something, it’s like getting it for free!

    2. Uncle Sugar, and the first state bank of taxpayersburg sort out all the stupid shit… these trust-fund babies don’t have the time.. they gotta roll.. People to shoot, paper to stack..

  6. This headline could be a Mad Lib:

    “[Government power grab] is not about [lame government story to justify power grab]”

    1. [Civil asset forfeiture] is not about [bridging gap in local budgets brought about by voter mistrust]

      This is fun. WILDCARD!

      [The over reach of the sweeping EPA clean energy mandates] is not about [the disparity addressed by forward thinking policies that address education inequality inherent in the public school system].

      Shit… It falls apart in cross polinization between A) different issues; B) Federal vs. state policy.

      Still… I think there’s something there. Quickly, Reason!! Refine!!

  7. Troll powers…ACTIVATE!

    West Point historian addresses the question, “Was the Civil War About Slavery?” in a five and a half minute video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcy7qV-BGF4

    1. You mean “the War of Northern Aggression”?

      Yeah, I did a stint at mises.org a few years back.

    2. The secession was about slavery.

      The WAR was about forcefully returning the Confederate States to the Union.

      lol, Okay there, Merriam-Webster. Whatever it was “about,” it culminated with the emancipation of several million people from chattel slavery. Next to that, preserving the union is an utterly insignificant excuse. So piss off.

      1. ^ Yup. It is very difficult to understand the logic that leads some libertarians to privilege ‘states’ rights’ over the end of the forced enslavement of something like 15% of the southern population.

        1. I can understand not liking the circumstances and not liking the principals involved for their role in fostering federal supremacy. Fair enough. But the most obnoxious claim made about libertarians is that we don’t operate in reality, and the reality of it is that historical circumstances and principals aren’t always, and in fact never will, favor a simple and pure libertarian argument. We have to face the fact that slavery was a huge contradiction for the nation. It ended amidst bloodshed and the death of state’s rights as an inviolable concept. But on the flip-side we resolved an existential contradiction and freed millions of people from an execrable condition. I think we can cede a few miles of territory on this front.

          1. “the death of state’s rights as an inviolable concept”

            It wasn’t inviolable *before* the war either, or the federal government wouldn’t have overridden state laws to capture alleged fugitive slaves.

            1. Fair point, but I think the ultimate expression of state sovereignty was always secession, and the Civil War put an end to that notion.

              1. All right, I can dig it.

              2. “Fair point, but I think the ultimate expression of state sovereignty was always secession, and the Civil War put an end to that notion.”

                You want to know who we should really hate for that though? The southern slave owners who tied the idea of secession to fucking chattel slavery.

                I 100% support secession. I also 150% support the abolition of slavery. It’s a shame those two ideas got bound together because of the evils of slavery in the 1860s.

                1. Exactly. Deal with reality. I know it’s made me a soft-bellied cosmo beta rather than a rock-ribbed paleo alpha, but that’s what attracted me to reason and away from places like mises. Too much question-begging and revisionism.

            2. “It wasn’t inviolable *before* the war either, or the federal government wouldn’t have overridden state laws to capture alleged fugitive slaves.”

              This. If people want to support state rights, they should attack the piece of shit slave owners who enlisted the feds to bring back their slaves.

        2. It was actually about 40% of the population (and a majority in a couple states, including South Carolina, the first state to secede and where the war began). It was about 15% of the total US population. And I totally agree with the point you make.

  8. Troll powers…ACTIVATE!

    Pope Francis will address the World Meeting of Families at Independence Hall in September, using the same lectern Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg address.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency……oln-90354/

    1. I don’t recall approving the use of catch phrases

      1. We took the vote when you were in the bathroom.

        1. sneaky bastards

          1. Too bad you only had to do #1 – you came back too early for us to appoint you editor of the newsletter.

            1. That’s OK, I would have just delegated to AC anyways.

              1. Oh yeah! A whole newsletter by AC!!!!

  9. Some sheriffs were distressed about white supremacy groups and sovereign citizens.

    That means YOU, peanuts!

  10. You can check out all 467 police department’s pleas to the Pentagon for surplus military equipment here.

    1. Quit bogarting all the cool stuff.
    2. You were just going to give it to ISIS anyways.
    3. Have you ever spoken with a “sovereign man”?
    4. I saw an Oath Keeper in Ferguson.
    5. What if Bernie wins? I’m sure he’d have plans for it.

  11. “the single most common reason agencies requested (an MRAP) was to combat drugs.”

    One municipality used theirs for noise abatement complaints. They said if they had a noise complaint, they’d pull up in that and it was effective in intimidating the residents.

    1. Just wait until your MRAP gets home!

    2. “It would be really cool if we had one of them MRAPS to enter in the next monster truck rally.”

      “I’ll just pretend you said ‘interdict heroin shipments.'”

  12. Just to give you an idea of how much danger these cops are in, the people worrying about ‘cartels’ are from Guthrie, Oklahoma (homicide rate: 0.0), the cops worried about white supremacists are from the Pulaski Sheriff Office (total number of police officers killed in the line of duty in its history: 4, only 3 of them from homicides), and the ones freaking out about sovereign citizens are from Winston, Alabama (1 murder since 2005).

    So you can see why these brave officers are so concerned for their safety.

    1. I had a buddy who worked in marketing and bought a Lenco Bearcat for a promotional thingy.

      He bought the thing used from some sheriff’s department in Ohio. They made him weld the sniper port closed before he could drive it off of the property. He got to NYC, and they made him register it with the local precinct. No law per se requiring it, but the NYPD saw a Bearcat and got really really scared.

      1. My bad, it was a Gurkha. Same issue, though.

        1. Did his gurkha come with a kukri?

            1. Whoops, I meant B-. That’s just mean.

              1. Can you get one with the sniper port pre-welded for consumer use?

                1. I would imagine that you can order one without a port torched out. But that might be too easy.

    2. I wonder what these cops think when they see video of the one guy standing in front of the tank in Tianamen Square.

    3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guthrie,_Oklahoma

      GAZE UPON THE KILLING FIELDS OF GUTHRIE OKLAHOMA

      “The National Finals Steer Roping Rodeo is held in Guthrie. On six occasions, the Texas rodeo promoter Dan Taylor was chute director for the competition in Guthrie.[17]

      Historical tourism has become a significant industry for the town. Guthrie is the largest urban Historic district in Oklahoma, containing 2,169 buildings, 1,400 acres (6 km2) and 400 city blocks. Guthrie is a “Certified City” and has received a Community Development Block Grant to inventory infrastructure features for Capital Improvement Planning.

      Guthrie has two lakes south of it, Liberty Lake and Guthrie Lake. It is home to several museums, including the Oklahoma Territorial Museum, and the Guthrie Scottish Rite Masonic Temple. Guthrie also claims to be the “Bed and Breakfast capital of Oklahoma”. The city hosts the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, which draws 15,000 visitors annually.

      Guthrie is also the home to Oklahoma’s oldest year-round professional theatre company, the Pollard Theatre Company.[18] With an emphasis on creative story-telling to illuminate the shared human experience, the Pollard produces six or more plays and musicals annually, enlisting artists across the United States. Productions include A Territorial Christmas Carol, the annual holiday favorite.”

      It’s a blood soaked ghetto is what it is.

      1. OKLAHOMA IS FOR STEERS AND QUEERS. DO YOU HAVE HORNS, SON?

        1. “OKLAHOMA IS FOR STEERS AND QUEERS. DO YOU HAVE HORNS, SON?”

          It depends if he’s willing to buy me drinks and say that I’m pretty.

  13. Ah-well children let me tell ya…

    Went down to the corner, where they sign ’em all up, an’ said,
    let me tell you soldier, I don’ wanna be a cop.
    You’ll be drivin’ ‘twixt the station, and the corner donut shop,
    or, least, that’s what yer friends will say…

    The man sat behind his desk, an’ he looked me up an’ down,
    said “son, ya gotta chance, now let’s see what can be done.”
    So he asked a lot of questions and I answered to a one,
    or, least, did what I knowed to do…

    Now, always heard ya get rejected, if yer dumber’n a post,
    and I always got me figured as a brighter man than most,
    but I felt the anger risin’ as we finished and he said,
    “sorry, son, but yer not our man…”

    They say when yer angry, well, they say ya see red,
    and I knew that it was true, when I listened what he said.
    Ya never knew the feelin’ of a-readin’ a report that goes,
    “REJECT: SUBSTANDARD INTELLECT.”

    But let me tell you, son, ya should never lose hope.
    ‘Cause cops, they got ’em shootin’, and a-goin’ after dope,
    they got ’em flack jackets, tanks, an’ super night scopes,
    ’bout better’n those soldier boys get…

      1. *Is arrested because, in his drug addled state, he didn’t realize that the bouquet was actually a baby!*

  14. Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions from last year is on and Arthur Chu is on this episode. The guy gives off a vibe like the sort that has human body parts in a freezer in his basement.

    I wonder if has all the news clippings about Charles Ng in a folder somewhere.

    1. That made for some good reading. I was somewhat with Ng, but the Leonard Lake entry was much more interesting:

      “He was reportedly a bright child, but had an obsession with pornography that stemmed from taking nude photos of his sisters, apparently with the encouragement of his grandmother.[3] It was also alleged that Lake extorted sexual favors from his sisters.[4] When he was a child, he enjoyed collecting mice and killing them by dissolving them in chemicals (a technique he would later use to help dispose of his human victims).[2]”

      Good stuff right there.

      1. It’s like an Onion article. “‘All the signs were there!’ says family, in retrospect.”

        1. You know who else had “all the signs”?

          1. Black Lives Matter?

    2. Isn’t Chu the really obnoxious social justice guy?

      1. Yeah. He gives off a certain creepy-ness.

        1. Plus his smile is reminiscent of a Stormtoopers’s helmet’s mouth vent.

            1. AHHHHHHH!

      2. Yeppers.

        Thinks memorizing facts makes him “smart”.

        1. Arthur Chu telling the worst joke ever about gang raping a dude in the locker room.

          He is the creepiest guy ever.

          Chu Chu train is a strange man, I don’t understand why he would tell jokes about anally raping some dude, and also why are people in the audience laughing?

          There’s also the other time that Arthur Chu said he knew rapists and didn’t do anything about it.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZLjm2w8RfE

          If i knew a fucking rapist I would have gone to the cops, but apparently Arthur Chu just thought ‘fuck it, rape happens.’

          1. http://theralphretort.com/arth…..er-408015/

            Oh, then there’s the time Arthur Chu claimed Brad Torgerson was using his black wife and daughter as a ‘shield’ because he’s totally a racist and just wants to pretend he’s not a racist by pointing to his black wife.

            1. He’s really committed to the lie.

  15. “A registry detailing male circumcisions has been deleted after the health minister stepped in to put a stop to the illegal record keeping….

    “[The Danish Data Protection Agency] rejected the database on the grounds that it would reveal the religion of circumcised boys, as circumcisions in Denmark are largely only performed on Jewish and Muslim children. Both Jewish and Muslim groups have condemned the illegal registry.”

    http://www.thelocal.dk/2015080…..ry-illegal

    1. “In my world, one should never begin to register something without having first received permission. Therefore one must now take the consequence of the illegal registry and delete the database,” Conservative spokeswoman Mette Abildgaard told TV2 News, adding that a database over circumcision could be resumed with the proper permission.

      Hey, Mette, just curious — Had the people who registered complaints about the database received proper permission?

  16. I ate half a head of cabbage because I’m indifferently hungry but not hungry enough to leave the house. From this experience I deduced that cabbage is in fact related to radishes. Delicious cabbageradish.

    1. Delicious cabbageradish.

      Paging Agile Cyborg ….

      1. Actually what I’m really thinking is wasabi, or at least our bastardized form of wasabi, and all the delicious fish bits that go with it. Delicious cabbagewasabi.

        1. Most people have never had wasabi. It’s almost always Mountain Dew colored horseradish.

          1. Delicious mountaindewcoloredhorseradishcabbage.

    2. Well, yes. They are both part of family Brassicaceae.

      1. Hey, watch your language, this is a family blog.

        1. It’s not as if I mentioned that they were also all angiosperms.

          1. Stop making up words, smart guy.

    3. You can thank me later:

      Finely shred.

      Mix it with rice vinegar, honey, salt, white pepper, oil, and a touch of sambal oelek.

      Lot of bulk, delicious, and few calories.

      1. Thanks! I’ll try it. Is that very different from sriracha?

        1. Very similar. I think it has more flavor than heat, though.

          Just had it about 20 minutes ago. I’m not in the habit of eating a whole large pizza anymore, so it’s a good fit.

          Cabbage and beer. huh. I feel sorry for the people who will be sitting next to me on the plane tomorrow.

        2. core it, add bbq sauce and bacon, grill slowly til tender

      2. Oh stop being silly. Just go full kimchee and be done with it. Munching on June batch ( family recipe:napa, bok choy, carrots, ginger, garlic, baby shrimp, anchovy sauce, coconut sugar, and red pepper flakes, fermented for at least a month).

  17. Would you like to contribute to funding “a full-length documentary entitled “Chicago Style” entirely about the Chicago pizza scene.”?

    http://chicagoist.com/2015/08/…..financ.php

    1. I could… or I could throw that money at groceries and bake myself another “Chicago Style” in a cheesecake pan.

        1. Bah, springform pan. Whatever. It’s only ever used for one thing, cheesecake. And deep dish.

          1. In light of your recent bread failures, are you sure you want to go down that road?

    2. you forgot to say troll powers activate

  18. Some sheriffs were distressed about white supremacy groups and sovereign citizens.

    Well, when MoJo interviews you, you need to throw some read meat in, you know, to ring the MoJo audience bell.

  19. After appropriate time to scrub server of sensitive and classified information, Clinton finally turns over server.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/na…..stice-dept

    1. She spent 3 weeks mercilessly flogging her unpaid interns to find the tech support number for E-Machines.. the clock ran out..

  20. All of these reasons are BS. The real reason they want them is that they are free but if they put that down on the request it would be denied. So they just make up something to put down which they think will be acceptable.

  21. weaponization of police, militarization implies training

  22. turnips

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