Friday, July 06, 2007

Against Militarizing Domestic Police

Go read Radley Balko at Reason Online explain in testimony he gave to the US House Subcommittee on Crime why it's a bad idea to use military tactics and equipment to confront low-grade street crime. Says Balko, "when you’re dealing with nonviolent drug offenders, paramilitary police actions create violence instead of defusing it." Botched raids are always portrayed as isolated incidents, he said, but while researching the subject at the CATO Institute Balko mapped some of these "isolated" cases and found disturbing patterns, including 25 such incidents in Texas. Great job, Radley. Anyone interested should read the whole thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My PD reduced the number of times we use SWAT for just that reason. Honestly it's mostly overkill. As an alternative, we have recently tried to rely on subterfuge to enter a residence, under a warrant of course, with surprising results.

It goes down like this. Two plain clothes officers approach the house under the pretense of selling something or wanting to use the phone. Once contact is made and the residents are off guard, the support team, made up of regular uniformed officers, secures the scene. NO BATTERING RAMS, NO GRENADES, NO SMG's! We have had fewer resisters, runners, and panic attacks. Fake pizza delivery worked pretty well but we stopped because we didn't want to endanger our local delivery force. To any other officer who reads this and freaks out, remember to think outside the box.