Saturday, August 04, 2012

'The Police State is Here': Conservative critiques of Big Brother

 These few, disparate items with caught Grits' attention related broadly to limits, or the lack thereof, on government power:

Conservative critiques of Big Brother
A reader forwarded a link to an interesting pair of stories from the Rockwall County News (July 26). See here (pdf) - the articles in question are the second and third ones on the first page, scrolling down, with these headlines:
  • Will you be the next peaceful traveler? A scenario and analysis of judicial practice
  • The Police State is Here
The second story laments that "So-called fusion centers have popped up in 49 states, amassing files on ordinary Americans for doing the most ordinary of things." These articles interest me not because of their incisiveness - I could quibble with aspects of both of them - but because they portray critiques of the criminal justice system from the perspective of populist conservatism.

Texas let DEA install license plate readers
Speaking of fusion centers and gathering data on ordinary Americans, the national ACLU has launched a research effort to gather information about automatic license plate readers. Their press release mentions:
The Drug Enforcement Administration is planning to install a network of plate readers on major highway systems nationwide. The Department of Homeland Security clocks every car that enters the country. Local and state police departments operate many thousands of ALPR systems nationwide—how many and to what extent, we aren’t sure. Together these programs form a network of data points that can tell the government a lot about our lives.
The Texas Department of Transportation in 2008 rejected a DEA request to install license plate readers on Texas highways, however another recent ACLU blog post stated that "scanners are already in place on 'drug trafficking corridors' in California and Texas." I was unaware that 2008 decision had been reversed. Does data from license plate readers, one wonders, funnel up into so-called "fusion centers"? Who besides DEA has access to this information?

Cops get database with Texans' Rx prescription information
Texas is developing other large databases that a civil libertarian may fear would be uploaded into fusion centers or used by various government entities for reasons unrelated to the purpose for which they were created, particularly a "new state online database of patient prescription drug information." Reported the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "DPS officials say the database is secure and, beginning this month, available to registered users who provide licensing information, including law enforcers." And if it's available to "law enforcers," why couldn't the data be uploaded to fusion center databases?

On the political economy of the militarization of domestic policing
While we're on the subject of conservative critiques of the criminal justice system, check out this academic article critiquing the "the political economy of the militarization of domestic policing" from the perspective of the Law and Economics movement. Here's a notable passage attributing abuses to the government's near "monopoly" on use of force:
One reason governments are able to effectively exploit their citizens is because they maintain a monopoly, or near monopoly, on military force. It is the concentration of military power, with its weaponry, organizational structure, and tactics that serves as the ultimate tool of government abuse. The threat of violent force raises the cost of deviations from government decree and can be used to repress citizens. As per the paradox of government, this leads to the central concern that while force can, in theory, serve the function of protecting citizens from threats to their person and property, it can also be used by the political elite to undermine the very rights government is tasked with protecting.
Fourth Amendment as a campaign issue
Finally, Grits found it fascinating that legislative efforts to restrict TSA pat downs at airports became a campaign issue in the Texas GOP US Senate runoff, and it seems highly likely the topic will be revived next year when the Texas Legislature meets again. For many years the only time the Fourth Amendment came up in Texas campaigns was when politicians (from both parties) promised to scale back its protections in response to the "war on drugs" and/or the "war on terror." The measure turned out to be immensely popular with the GOP base and perhaps could open the door to more legislation aimed at bolstering Fourth Amendment protections (which couldn't happen soon enough to satisfy this correspondent).

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

Regarding the Rockwall article, I used to work with one of those Troopers. And it surprises me in the least that this type of allegation would surface. He'd look you in the eye while he did it.

Anonymous said...

The prosecutor on the Rockwall Peaceful traveler article, from Wikipedia:

“Louis William "Bill" Conradt, Jr. (January 30, 1950 – November 5, 2006) was a district attorney in Texas. He became inextricably linked to Dateline NBC's To Catch a Predator, a TV series which conducted sting operations against suspected sexual predators. Local law enforcement conducted a sting operation that identified Conradt as a suspect and Dateline cameras recorded the events that followed. Conradt fatally shot himself upon encountering SWAT team members that were serving an arrest warrant at his home.”

Anonymous said...

The emergency room doctors where I work use the prescription database on a regular basis.

Arce said...

If doctors use it regularly it can help prevent tragedy. My father had a terrible incident because different doctors prescribed three different drugs that can all cause ulceration of the stomach and intestine. Dad almost bled out internally, and his blood oxygen got so low that he had a permanent loss of mental capacity, shortening his life of awareness of his family by several years. Any one drug would probably been OK, but three, totally contrary to the prescribing information for all three of them.

Prison Doc said...


Maybe I have been asleep for 20 years, but I am not aware of any prescription database maintained by the government or any government agency that is clinically useful to physicians at this time, at least not in a real-time setting.

Either I, or Arce and Anon 4:11, are woefully misinformed.

I look forward to being updated on this valuable resource.

CLH said...

LOL, I was thinking about sending Grits a link to the SSRN article above. I see he beat me to it! :)

It's a great article, and well worth the read. It's an excellent, plain English summation of the current problems facing Texans and Americans as a whole regarding the current trends in American politics as it relates to policing in general.

Anonymous said...

My prescription information has been available to every doctor I have seen for about the last year. At the last appointment, I was asked about a mouthwash. Claiming I did not use any prescription mouthwash, they gave me specific info. It was from dental surgery last year. I only used it for 2 days and then disposed of the rest of it, and obviously forgot it.

Anonymous said...

I carry my prescription information in my wallet. You never know when you might become incapacitated from an injury and can't communicate with emregncy responders. I also have my blood type in there too. Just makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Peaceful traveler = peaceful dumb ass.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"I carry my prescription information in my wallet."

I'm curious, if asked, would you give it to a peace officer upon request?

benbshaw said...

The prescription database is totally illegal. Already, employers who are self-insured have access to your medical records. I believe that self-insured employers use this information to determine whether they will continue to employ someone if the employee starts to have too many claims. Likewise, a prescription database could be used in the initial hiring process. It might even serve as a deterrent for patients choosing to take or not take medication.

We need greater protection of patient's medical records not less. If patients feel that emergency rooms need certain medical information, then the the patient can opt to carry it with them.

Insurance companies fought a law in Vermont that would have restricted access to patients' prescription records to the patient and his or her doctor(s). Big Pharma uses the prescription records to target doctors who are not prescribing "enough" of their products for additional sales calls.

Phillip Baker said...

The above link (Don't know why it did not paste as a simple link like it has just now in emails) speaks volumes about how close to police state we truly are. 200+ years of expanding freedoms and civil liberties have been blindly given away- while piously intoning our dedication to "freedom"- by Americans fed a steady diet of fear. Militarized police are just a very small step to "internal security forces". Al Qaeda has already won, in the sense that they destroyed the US internally with our hysterical response to all things 9/11. When we created a huge department, enormously powerful and largely unchecked power center called "Homeland Security", the shades of "Fatherland" were apparent to anyone looking.

As to Rockwall, yet another example of prosecutorial misconduct, that supposedly oh so rare aberration we are told to ignore because it happens so rarely. Can the DA union define "rarely", please?

Anonymous said...

Grits said...I'm curious, if asked, would you give it to a peace officer upon request?

8:25 left out a key word; "reasonable" request.

North Texas Cop said...

Can someone please define the term, "militarization?". Please be specific. Is it based on perception, "looks," tools, or mission? I've heard the term used my whole career (16+ years) but it seems everyone has their own definition of the concept; many of which appear to be malleable depending on the news item or photo that offends the observer. So, seriously, somebody please tell me what "militarization" means. Whe you're at it, how can we be intellectually honest with the term when considering the history of American policing? For example, American police have had full-auto weapons since they were invented.

Anonymous said...

How long has DPS had heavily armored gunboats? How long have the police been setting up sophisticated systems like networks of license plates readers to spy on and collect extensive data on the activities of American citizens?

john said...

Well, what IS the authority, e.g. per TX Constitution, for DPS, these days? I'm not sure.
There was never any U.S. Constitution authority for federal police. Arming them began maybe with Gay Edgar Hoover.
Today we have dozens of Exec. Branch Agencies heavily-armed with satellite communications in offices and apartments all around us, with fast cars and wall-piercing bullets. How are they unlike soldiers quartered in our homes? It's like saying Social Security is not "really" a Ponzi scheme (what is "is", BJ?). These "AGENTS" get paid to terrorize us, on order. The FBI was doing a lot of their own warrants, post-USA.PATRIOT.Act, but the attention caused them to hold back. DHS and the largest gov union TSA can lobby for anything they want (see 1996 movie, "The Long Kiss Goodnight"); but all these guys really do is modernly abuse our Third Amendment rights. Pay up and kiss their ass or die, serf. Do not resist or be beaten then die, serf. Never hang the politicians who gladly hired these willing henchmen to destroy their fellow neighbor citizens in the private sector. Cops have to get pretty egregious before the judges won't cover for them.
USA has the most folks in jail and prison of any 'country' on Earth. Land of liberty no more; land of lawyers or something.
Those of you not already working for gov might as well. Maybe at least you'll get an email the drones are coming--the drones toll for thee.
If Agents serve the lawyers, do lawyers serve the bankers, or what exactly is the deal?? WHY would "our" "reps" agree to indefinite detention without due process, etc.? HOW CAN THAT BE? How can they dishonour their oaths? With what were they promised and/or threatened?
Unconstitutional policies, laws, regulations, etc., ARE VOID AT INCEPTION.

Serf say "captcha"

Anonymous said...

Prison Doc, All I know is that our er doctors put in their drivers license number and pull up by name the prescription database on the dps website. They have to subscribe to it and normally use it when they suspect drug seekers in our e.r. I have seen it and our doctors use it. This comment is absolutely with all respect to you.

Anonymous said...

David Rittgers, a legal policy analyst at the Cato Institute who served three tours in Afghanistan as a special forces officer, laments the militarization of police in America.

The sheriff’s office in Pima County, Ariz., raided the home of former Marine and Iraq combat veteran Jose Guerena, shooting 71 rounds at Guerena and hitting him with 22. The department is now facing a serious controversy over Guerena’s death.

But the raid isn’t the real tragedy. It’s a symptom of the real tragedy: the militarization of U.S. law enforcement.

Pima County released a video of the raid and supporting documents. The video isn’t anything new — a squad of police officers dressed up for combat. But the statement of the SWAT supervisor is worth reading. After the SWAT team entered Guerena’s home, the supervisor left one or two “operators” with the body while the rest searched the house.

What did he mean by operator? Well, a police officer. But the term connotes something entirely different.

“Operator” is a term of art in the special operations community. Green Berets, SEALs and other special operations personnel often refer to themselves as operators. It’s a recognition of both the elite standards of their units and the hybrid nature of their duties — part soldier, part spy, part diplomat. But importing operator terminology into domestic law enforcement is not a benign turn of the phrase.

Perceiving yourself as an operator plasters over the difference between a law enforcement officer serving a warrant and a commando in a war zone. The former Mirandizes, the latter vaporizes, as the saying goes — and as the recent Osama bin Laden raid vividly illustrated.

Targeted killing is legal in a war zone but not on the streets of Anytown, USA. The war on drugs has done incalculable damage to the character of law enforcement by encouraging police officers to forget they are civilians.

True, they are civilians charged with enforcing the law and are empowered to use force to do so — but they are civilians nonetheless. When police officers refer to their fellow citizens as civilians and mean to exclude themselves from that category, they’ve mentally leapt from enforcing the law to destroying the enemies of the state. That’s incompatible with a free society.

Radley Balko and others have been writing about this problem for years. Sadly, there’s virtually no public appetite to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America

by Radley Balko

Radley Balko is a policy analyst specializing in civil liberties issues and is the author of the Cato study, "Back Door to Prohibition: The New War on Social Drinking."

xecutive Summary

Americans have long maintained that a man's home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

This paper presents a history and overview of the issue of paramilitary drug raids, provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.

Anonymous said...


By Greg Evensen

August 13, 2006

As a former state police trooper, I can state emphatically, that I oppose the move away from local policing to a heavily armed “national” quasi-military police force policy. You need look no further than New Orleans after Katrina. You could watch California Highway Patrol officers and many out of state police agencies going door to door, disarming innocent civilians. Police officers were on a mission to confiscate firearms from people trying to protect themselves. Observing this, was to incite a first class riot in my home.

It was bad enough to watch these poor, helpless, but courageous civilians, trying to defend themselves against criminals who spoke “Ebonics” and Spanish. It was horrendous to watch the suffering of old men and women abandoned by families or simply unable to leave before the storm hit. But it was absolutely heartbreaking to see beefy, skin-headed officers prying shotguns out of the hands of men and women whose only “crime” was that they tried to keep themselves alive while the “officers” could not be found.

We have become accustomed to standing quietly on the sidelines while our local police Chiefs and Sheriffs have accepted huge amounts of federal dollars and military equipment for their special response units. They are all under a variety of mission specific names and classified standing orders. Once they take the cash however, they are handcuffed to the Feds for whatever future “mission” they may be assigned. It could come from some whacked out Special Agent from the ABC Bureau who dreamed up a little publicity (like Waco) and/or a “show of force” to keep the natives in line. This is to soften up the American public in case they held thoughts of fending for themselves or decisively telling these servants that they weren’t needed, thank you. But then, a well armed citizenry doesn’t fit the UN model of a disarmed nation bowing before the machine-gun toting black clad soldiers of the Omaha, Atlanta or Dayton police departments. Let’s see, black uniforms, coal bucket style helmets, machine-guns at every corner. Hmm, looks like Berlin in 1942?

Anonymous said...

@ North Texas Cop - the above quoted articles should give you an idea of what we mean by "militarization" of the police. This is something that, while it has been going on for quite a while, has increased significantly in recent years and isn't just police having automatic weapons. This is something that everyone should be concerned about. This trend is a threat to our freedom. This is just another sign of the ever increasing police state and our stead march towards totalitarianism. Only a ocuple of decades ago we had the exampe of the communist countries and we could look at them and know that we did not want that kind of society. Now, that we don't have that to remind us, we are letting those in power push us to that type of society and we are blindly allowing them to do it. If we continue to let them, the government will control every aspect of our lives. And, if we resist.....

Anonymous said...

The Law enforcement today is part of the Facist White Regime in this country today.

Anonymous said...

What kind of people are those who like to compare everything to Nazis, Fascists, and to a police state? So, everybody you disagree with is, to you, Hitler?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It's virtually an internet requirement, 12:41 - Godwin's Law. OTOH, I thought most of this string was surprisingly good. In my experience the length of a comment string is usually inversely proportionate to its sagacity, but this has been a decent discussion.

Anonymous said...

"What kind of people are those who like to compare everything to Nazis, Fascists, and to a police state? So, everybody you disagree with is, to you, Hitler?"

Maybe those who have heard that "those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Yes, the type of things that happened in Germany could happen again. And, those things could very well happen rigth here in the good ole USA.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, back on the medical data base issue, it may be a Medicare situation. 20% of Medicare patients use something like 70 to 80% of the funds. therefore, the db allows all of their doctors to see what meds are prescribed, conflicts, etc. Medicare is now sending nurses to the homes of the "big spenders" to id more problems.

North Texas Cop said...

It’s interesting to read internet posts from angry citizens who advocate for a rejection of “militarization” and a return to the “good old days” of policing (e.g. Andy Griffith).  Many of them talk about how cops were once “peace officers” and not “law enforcement officers” or “police officers.”  In truth, they're all the same thing and there never has been a difference. 

The vast majority of claims regarding the “militarization” of American police can be traced to the works of two men:  Radley Balko and Peter Kraska. Their writings, and subsequent conclusions, about “militarization” of police are based on cherry picking of reports and data, a demonstrated willingness to use incomplete source material (e.g. preliminary or anecdotal reports of police misconduct vs. final court decisions regarding the same incident), and extensive use of "post hoc ergo propter hoc" reasoning. Their work is rife confirmation bias and has been used by political radicals (from the Left and Right) as a foundation upon which to build a flimsy body of writings on police “militarization” that does not stand up to academic scrutiny.

The last time I checked, my actions as a police officer (including those I undertook while using a helmet, body armor, rifle, and armored vehicle) were still governed by state law, case law, and department policy; all of which were enacted by duly elected representatives who were put in place by the citizenry of a Constitutional Republic.   Those who believe that police have become militarized or that the GWOT is spurring an acceleration towards a police state should educate themselves about the laws and court rulings passed over the last 10 years regarding citizens' rights to carry guns, use force to protect themselves and their property, and to be free from police searches of their homes, vehicles, and persons.  Those rights have been and continue to be re-affirmed, reinforced, and expanded by legislation and court decisions.  Legal requirements for police departments to be transparent to the public (e.g. open records requests and FOIA) are more powerful than they have ever been. There are more restrictions and mandates affecting the actions of police authorities now than at any time in American history.  The sky is not falling.

Anonymous said...

Hitler ran a police state also, just like what we see in this country today and it is going to get worst unless we have a voter backlash. This is a facist white regime!!! The sad part, is how they still get the poor whites and minorities to still do their dirty work for them. Just like the south did in the Civil War. All those poor whites went to fight for the plantation masters, and why? Brainwashed? Who do you think work law enforcement and especially department of corrections? Think about it.

Anonymous said...

"Those rights have been and continue to be re-affirmed, reinforced, and expanded by legislation and court decisions. Legal requirements for police departments to be transparent to the public (e.g. open records requests and FOIA) are more powerful than they have ever been. There are more restrictions and mandates affecting the actions of police authorities now than at any time in American history."

Nothing could be further from the truth. All levels of goverment, from the feds to the local cops can obtain just about any information about anyone they want. They may occasionally have to get a warrant that is nothing more than a rubber stamp from a judge. I'm not the first to say the 4th Amendment is on life support. Some courts have held that a person's cell phone can be searched upon their arrest for something as trivial as public intox. Your car can be searched based on a dog sniff that is at best abotu 50% accurate.

Nope, North Texas Cop, most of the court ruling in the last several decades have significantly erroded the Constitution. Unfortunately, contrary to your assertions, our so-called elected representatives are helping to move us down this path toward totalitarianism.

North Texas Cop, you have a very biased perspective. Just because you have to occasionally go to the trouble of getting a warrant, or have a few rules to follow, doesn't mean we are not on a collision course with totalitarianism.

You say those authors who write about, and give some undeniable examples, of this problem can't stand up to "academic scrutiny." Those are good sounding words -"academic scrutiny." Can you provide any source to back that up - any academic sources (btw - propaganda put out by self-serving police organizations would not be a credible source). So, now its your turn - "please be specific." Or, could it be that it is just a matter of your perception?

Anonymous said...

"The last time I checked, my actions as a police officer (including those I undertook while using a helmet, body armor, rifle, and armored vehicle) were still governed by state law, case law, and department policy; all of which were enacted by duly elected representatives who were put in place by the citizenry of a Constitutional Republic."

Sure, all totalitarian systems have rules and laws and policies. Some of them even have elections. Btw - we haven't been a Constitutioanl Republic for a long time - just cauase you use the label doesn't make it so.

Anonymous said...

Damn near anyone can get the plate reader information. I have clients (insurance companies) who pay for that information to use against their insureds.


Anonymous said...

All this talk of Hitler. Lets don't slight Stalin.

Look up "hyperbolic screed."

North Texas Cop said...

To Anonymous at 1:28..

There is no disputing the fact that there are valid questions about the proper role and strength of government as well as the power of those who serve as enforcers.  Such questions have existed since the founding of our country (e.g. Hamiltonian vs. Jeffersonian principles) and we should continue with that healthy debate.  

However, an examination of the practical “in-the-field authority” of modern police officers compared to that of the 1950's reveals an incredible contrast.  Police in the 1950's could and did use serious force much more often than modern officers.  Searches, seizures, and arrests which were commonplace in the 50's would be thrown out of court today with the modern officer becoming the focus of criminal charges or being stripped of his license.  This is not a matter of opinion or politics. If we could magically teleport a random sample of working police officers from 1950 to 2012, those officers would shocked at the restrictions on the day-to-day activities of their modern counterparts.

If you don't have the time or energy to thoroughly review the facts of each case cited by Balko (which has been done by others), you may wish to consider reviewing the research and writings of David A. Klinger, Ph.D.,  George C. Klein, Ph.D., and Jon M. Shane, Ph.D.

Still waiting on a clear definition of "militarization" that doesn't rely on emotion or layperson perception.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that the cops could get away with more in the 50s than they can now. However, you also need to factor in some other things. For example, there are significantly more police officers now than there were then. This is one reason why these things occur more frequently and on a larger scale than they did then. In te 50s an average person probably wasn't likely to find himself in one of these situations. Today, the chance is much greater that one would find his rights being blatantly violated by the police, who do so with impunity. Today, many of us have experienced this first hand. Additionall, in the 50s the police didn't have the technology that they have today. Police are seizing on every new piece of technology to get as much info on as many as they can. Now, I agree, its smart for police to make use of technology to do their jobs more effectively. However, the courts aren't keeping up and courts are making ridiculous rulings like allowing cell phones to be searched on a whim. If you want to compare that to the 50s, that would be similar to the police being allowed to go to your house and rummage through all your papers, photographs, etc. If you're going to make comparisons to the 50s, you have to take into account the whole picture.

Furthermore, did DPS have armored gunboats in the 50s? Did they have the ability to track you by GPS in your cell phone in the 50s? Did they have a network of license plate readers in the 50s?

Finally, I think you're smart enough to know what we mean by militarization. If not, how can you be arguing that its not true if you don't know what we are talking about?

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmmm.... a cop claims that claims of police overreaction and over "militarization" is overhyped. Kind of like we have heard all the hype about drugs and crime all these years. That was an effective strategy for increasing the number of police (become a "military" style force) and getting taxpayers to spend more and more on all kinds of equipment. Not to mention all that money we are spending on the "war on drugs." Now wait, our police are not "militarized," yet they are fighting a "war" on drugs..hmmmmmm..... How can you fight a "war" if you aren't "militarized." Well, this strategy of overhyping and exaggeration has worked so well for the law enforcement community, maybe those who are concerned about increasing power of the goverment at all levels should be using the same strategy....

Anonymous said...

If you look at some past Court decisions, for example - I think the name was Katz or something like that - there was the decision that said police could not bug a phone booth because there was a reasonable expectation of privacy. Then there was the pen register case where the court said it was ok for the police to get the number someone was calling but could not listen in on the conversation without a warrant. Yet, now, the Court are ok with police being able to search a cell phone, read email, text messages, look at photos, etc. and obtain all kinds of other information abotu a person, including tracking via cell phone tower records, and other things without a warrant. There were a couple of more recent decisions that went the other way - the thermal imaging case and the recent gps tracking case - but overall, I think its hard to make a credible argument that the courts are not much more antagonist towards the Fourth Amendment than they were a few decades ago.

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy Theorist is what I was labeled on this very blog a few years ago for bringing up some of the same concerns as covered in this string. I am very glad to see so many people are getting wise to what is happening to our Constitutional Republic. Have a great day all!


Anonymous said...

I think the LEs have to "militarize". Look at what they face in the public.That was proven with the bank robbers in California who had the local police so out-gunned. I can get nearly everything LE have, armor, nearly any weapon, etc. I have no problem with the public having access to weapons. Ultimately, we have to protect ourselves and families from gov't. and idiots.

My wife is a PA and she regularly asks the pharmacy to run a check on if a patient is using multiple pharmacies and what prescriptions they have had filled. It is not state wide though. Yet.

Anonymous said...

North Texas Cop said...
Can someone please define the term, "militarization?". Please be specific. Is it based on perception, "looks," tools, or mission? I've heard the term used my whole career (16+ years) but it seems everyone has their own definition of the concept; many of which appear to be malleable depending on the news item or photo that offends the observer. So, seriously, somebody please tell me what "militarization" means. Whe you're at it, how can we be intellectually honest with the term when considering the history of American policing? For example, American police have had full-auto weapons since they were invented.

8/05/2012 01:55:00 PM





Anymore questions or are you honestly so indoctrinated you cannot see it?

North Texas Cop said...

This is exactly the type of ignorance and hyperbole that I've been obliquely referring to. Contrary to Internet rumor, American police departments are not using "tanks" or "grenade launchers." If you have proof otherwise, name the agency that is using them. The FBI used a modified tank at Waco to inject tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound and was soundly crucified for it. I repeat: Show me any state or local police agency using tanks and grenade launchers. Hint: There aren't any. Now, what is "combat training?" If I'm learning how to use hard cover to keep from being shot and training to return fire, is that "combat training?" Is it learning how to use an AR-15? Bare hands in a fight? What tactics and techniques am I not allowed to know or use when I'm being shot at or having my pistol pried out of my holster?

Would it surprise you to know that "traditional" police uniforms are based on military uniforms of the late 1800's? The earliest foundations of American policing have roots in and connections to military influences. Thus, by some peopke's definitions, American police have always been "militarized."

Anonymous said...

Today's latest in paramilitary fashion sweeping through local police departments is the armored tank, which is making appearances all over the country at an increasingly alarming rate. The police department in Roanoke, Virginia paid Armet Armored Vehicles , a private company that specializes in military vehicles, $218,000 to assemble a 20,000-pound bulletproof tank with a $245,000 federal grant.

@ North Texas Cop - the above cited article not only rebuts your assertion about tanks but also provides a very good and detailed analysis of the "miltarization" issue.

I have no doubt you believe the things you are saying - but it is so easy to prove almost every point you are making to be wrong, yous should really quit now - its getting a little embarassing for you.

Anonymous said...

Here's another one for you NT Cop

The Pentagon Is Offering Free Military Hardware To Every Police Department In The US

Robert Johnson|December 05, 2011|



(wikipedia commons)

The U.S. military has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it likes at will.

We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns out a lot of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens.

Benjamin Carlson at The Daily reports on a little known endeavor called the "1033 Program" that gave more than $500 million of military gear to U.S. police forces in 2011 alone.

Read more:

In the face of overwhelming evidence, your denials are rising to the level of willfull blindness.

Anonymous said...

From The Daily:

Thanks to it, cops in Cobb County, Ga. — one of the wealthiest and most educated counties in the U.S. — now have an amphibious tank. The sheriff of Richland County, S.C., proudly acquired a machine-gun-equipped armored personnel carrier that he nicknamed “The Peacemaker.”

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Here's a really good one that discusses some of the historical aspects:

The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism
in American Police Departments

Anonymous said...

Between 1995 and 1997 the Department of Defense gave police departments 1.2 million pieces of military hardware, including 73 grenade launchers and 112 armored personnel carriers. The Los Angeles Police Department has acquired 600 Army surplus M-16s. Even small-town police departments are getting into the act. The seven-officer department in Jasper, Florida, is now equipped with fully automatic M-16s.2

Good quote from the above article - seems, NC Cop - that they do have tanks and grenade launhers after all.

Anonymous said...

On the positive side, the early police forces were well integrated into their communities, often solving crimes by simply chatting with people on the street corners. On the negative side, the police were suspicious of and often hostile to strangers ....immigrants, and, having strong loyalties to the local political machine, they were susceptible to bribery and political influence. 5

Police departments have evolved into increasingly centralized, authoritarian, autonomous, and militarized bureaucracies. Throughout the 19th century police work was considered casual labor, making it difficult for either municipalities or precinct captains to impose any uniform standards on patrolmen. Police did not consider themselves a self-contained body of law officers set apart from the general populace.

The initial round of professionalization took place during the Progressive Era with the appearance of early police literature, fraternal organizations, and rudimentary recruitment standards — all of which suggest the emergence of a common occupational self-consciousness. Internal and external pressures forced the depoliticization and restructuring of police departments, which gradually reformed into centralized, depersonalized, hierarchical bureaucracies. To gain control of the rank and file, police chiefs assigned military ranks and insignia to personnel, and some departments required military drills. "Military methods have been adopted and military discipline enforced," wrote Philadelphia police superintendent James Robinson in his department's 1912 annual report.30

A wave of police unionism from 1917 to 1920 was a strong indication that police not only were acquiring a shared occupational outlook but had come to regard policing as a full-time career. Two events, however, signaled the break-away of police from their communities and into their modern professional enclave. In 1905 the first truly modern state police force was formed in Pennsylvania. Ostensibly created to control crime in rural areas, the Pennsylvania State Police was used mainly in labor disputes, since the state militias and local police (who were more likely to sympathize with strikers) had been ineffective. That centralized organization, under one commander appointed by the governor, recruited members from across the state so that no more than a handful of officers had roots in any single community. This new force was considered so militaristic that the Pennsylvania Federation of Labor referred to it as "Cossacks." Despite the misgivings of many people, Pennsylvania started a trend. Other states began to emulate Pennsylvania's state police force.

Another good quote from the CATO artticle

North Texas Cop said...

Every one of those articles is wrong. There is not a single tank or grenade launcher present at any of those agencies. Not one. The fact that the authors did shoddy research and mischaracterized the actual nature of the equipment should be a true embarrassment to journalists and people who blindly quote such articles. Again, show me a single local or state agency deploying tanks or grenade launchers. Name the agency. You haven't done it yet.

Anonymous said...

Okay, NTC - this is getting ridiculous. If you bothered to read those articles you would have seen that they did name some of the agencies. The fact that you said that none have been named proves you didn't even bother to read them. In fact, apparently you didn't even read the portions I quoted as one of those quotes specifically mentions Roanok, Va. Instead of reading the articles you just assumed they are all wrong. This is willful ignorance on your part. No matter how much proof is put in front of your face, you won't believe it. So, there is no point in continuing a discussion with someone like that. Maybe one day you will open your eyes.

North Texas Cop said...

I've read ever single article to which you provided links. I read them well before you posted this. It's not my fault that the authors of those articles used incorrect terminology, made false assertions, and/or willfully lied about the equipment. Repeatedly mislabeling and micharacterizing the function/purpose of hardware based on rampant ignorance doesn't make the falsehoods become true. If enough people wrote articles claiming your computer was actually a time machine, would that make it so? Hardly. I do this for a living, sir. I'm an educated professional who operates on facts and evidence. I am not a journalistic hack writing sensationalist B.S. If I'm so wrong, prove it. Name the state or local police agencies using tanks and grenade launchers. You can't do it because they don't exist.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, for a supposedly educated professional, you don't read too good, do ya:

Roanoke, Virginia paid Armet Armored Vehicles , a private company that specializes in military vehicles, $218,000 to assemble a 20,000-pound bulletproof tank with a $245,000 federal grant.

Not to feel left out, the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) in Lancaster, PA, was recently seen sporting the Lenco BearCat , a camouflage colored Humvee-styled tank that can “knock down a wall, pull down a fence, withstand small-arms fire and deliver a dozen heavily armed police officers to a tense emergency scene,” according to a local news report. The BearCat was purchased a year and a half ago with a $226,224 grant from DHS, yet it has spent nearly two years sitting in a garage at the county's Public Safety Training Center.

Police in Wellfleet, a community known for stunning beaches and succulent oysters, scored three military assault rifles. At Salem State College, where recent police calls have included false fire alarms and a goat roaming the campus, school police got two M-16s. In West Springfield, police acquired even more powerful weaponry: two military-issue M-79 grenade launchers.

Anonymous said...

Past day
Past week
Past month.
Search resultsTexas DPS now using FN machine guns and grenade launchers ...
Texas DPS now using FN machine guns and grenade launchers ... No matter what kind of threat police officeres face ... AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Texas Department of Public Safety ... - Cached

Anonymous said...

Nestled amid plains so flat the locals joke you can watch your dog run away for miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.

But that hasn’t stopped authorities in Fargo and its surrounding county from going on an $8 million buying spree to arm police officers with the sort of gear once reserved only for soldiers fighting foreign wars.

Every city squad car is equipped today with a military-style assault rifle, and officers can don Kevlar helmets able to withstand incoming fire from battlefield-grade ammunition. And for that epic confrontation—if it ever occurs—officers can now summon a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. For now, though, the menacing truck is used mostly for training and appearances at the annual city picnic, where it’s been parked near the children’s bounce house.

“Most people are so fascinated by it, because nothing happens here,” says Carol Archbold, a Fargo resident and criminal justice professor at North Dakota State University. “There’s no terrorism here.”

Like Fargo, thousands of other local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Anonymous said...

While the militarization of the police is obvious and overt, the behavior in the Rockwall Peaceful traveler article is far more insidious, the slaughter of the fourth ammendment. The officers blatantly lied under oath, under the American and Texas flag in a court of law. The court approved it and the district attorney continues to pursue it with hard evidence of police perjury publicly exposed. This district attorney has acknowledged criminal election violations of incumbents and has not filed with the grand jury. Complaints/grievances have been filed, but Austin has refused to step in giving unchecked power to the district attorney. If we quietly accept this through inaction, we approve and get what we deserve...

North Texas Cop said...

This is my last comment here: The Lenco Bearcat is not a tank. Armored vehicles are not tanks. The M-79 is an antiquated launcher used by cash-strapped police departments for less-lethal munitions, smoke, and CS (tear gas) applications for crowd control situations. They are not being used by police to launch grenades. No matter how many times you repost ignorant drivel, the fact remains that police are NOT using tanks and grenade launchers against American citizens. Period. It's not a matter of opinion.

The information I have shared here is verifiable via open records requests or even a phone call. Do your own research and stop believing the crap you're reading on the Internet.

It's your choice to continue believing the writings of ignorant people who don't know the difference between a military tank with a main gun and an armored rescue vehicle specifically designed or adapted for saving injured citizens and police officers. I can't help it if you choose to believe demonstrably false reports.

Anonymous said...

I hate to sound like a conspiracy nut, but I've noticed a trend that is disturbing. It seems that the federal government, particularly DHS is behind a big push to militarize local police - giving funding, military equipment, etc. It seems that the feds may be preparing to make sure they can enforce their will on the people via local law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

"Armored vehicles are not tanks."

And, that rotating turret is just for show.

Anonymous said...

"who don't know the difference between a military tank with a main gun and an armored rescue vehicle"

Wrong again - "And for that epic confrontation—if it ever occurs—officers can now summon a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret."

Although, I'm sure if I were to do an open records request, any paperwork would show this to be simply a rescue vehicle. And, like I said, that rotating turret and big gun are just for show. So, I guess you're right. I should only beleive something if I hear it from the government. I should put complete faith and trust in the government and trust it as the only source of credible information. AFter all no government would ever mislead its citizens. No government would ever claim something to be benign that could be used to keep the masses in their place.. Nah, that would never happen.

And, I'm sure that when the day comes that all of this "militarized" equipment is used against those who disagree with the government, you wills say it is all good and proper and reasonable. AFter all, its all for the good and protection of the people, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

The Rockwall Peacefull traveller article is fairly accurate, however it does not discuss the false "plain view" claim. This is common bullshit used by LE to get around consent and a warrant.

A careful read of the trancsript shows the state did not meet the burden of proof and their story is contradicted by the kite and the video, exhibit 1:

After you cut thru the fluff it is not that long.

Charlie O said...

North Texas Cop,

How about you pull your head out of your ass? I work for a defense company that manufactures armored vehicles for the US Army and Marine Corp. In fact, there is NO SUCH THING as a TANK. We manufacture wheeled armored vehicle and tracked armored vehicles. Not one of them is EVER referred to as tank by either my company or the US Army or Marine Corps.

Stop playing your silly semantic game. Police departments in this country are acquiring ARMORED and ARMED vehicles. That's militarization you stupid fucking bozo.

rodsmith said...

all i can say North Texas Cop! is good riddence and good bye!

we've had enough criminal law enforcment shills here to last a lifetime!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Charlie O and North Texas Cop just inadvertently agreed with one another. Apparently, it is important to understand what words actually mean. So what is the real difference between an ARMORED vehicle and an ARMED vehicle? If the cops are using armored vehicles to save people and protect themselves from nuts who shoot at them then I don't have a problem with them using them. Are police really using vehicles with big guns on them?

Anonymous said...

militarization" means we now live in Russia, China, I guess. We are controlled.

Anonymous said...

"We now live in Russia, China"? It seems to me that Hitler is in control.