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Latest trend in Police work

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by Seacowboys, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Overkill: The Latest Trend in Policing

    Sunday, February 5, 2006; B08

    On Jan. 24, a SWAT team in Fairfax shot and killed Salvatore J. Culosi Jr., an optometrist who was under investigation for gambling. According to a Jan. 26 front-page story in The Post, Culosi had emerged from his home to meet an undercover officer when a police tactical unit swarmed around him. An officer's gun discharged, killing the suspect. Culosi, police said, was unarmed and had displayed no threatening behavior.

    It's unlikely that the officer who shot Culosi did so intentionally. But it's also unlikely that the investigation into this shooting will address why police sent a military-style unit to arrest an optometrist under investigation for a nonviolent crime and why the officers had their guns drawn when approaching a man with no history of violence.

    This isn't the first time a SWAT team in Virginia has killed someone while serving a gambling warrant. In 1998 a team in Virginia Beach conducted a 3 a.m. raid at a private club believed to be involved in organized gambling. Security guard Edward C. Reed was sitting in a parked car outside the club, which had been robbed a few months earlier.

    As the black-clad police team raided, a few officers confronted Reed, who had fallen asleep. Reid awoke and, probably startled by the sight of armed men outside his car, reached for his gun. The SWAT team shot and killed him. Reed's last words were, "Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book."

    During the past 15 years, The Post and other media outlets have reported on the unsettling "militarization" of police departments across the country. Armed with free surplus military gear from the Pentagon, SWAT teams have multiplied at a furious pace. Tactics once reserved for rare, volatile situations such as hostage takings, bank robberies and terrorist incidents increasingly are being used for routine police work.

    Eastern Kentucky University's Peter Kraska -- a widely cited expert on police militarization -- estimates that SWAT teams are called out about 40,000 times a year in the United States; in the 1980s, that figure was 3,000 times a year. Most "call-outs" were to serve warrants on nonviolent drug offenders.

    That statistic is troubling enough, but it is compounded by the raids, particularly in drug cases, being based on tips from notoriously unreliable informants, often with no corroborating investigation. This leads to the "wrong address" raids we frequently hear about in the news.

    Now police military-style units are increasingly being deployed on gambling raids, too. Last November, police with guns and K-9 units raided a charity poker game in Baltimore. Police in New York are using similar tactics against gambling clubs. Last April, a SWAT team of 52 officers raided a small-stakes poker game in a Denver suburb. An alternative weekly, the Cleveland Scene, reported last year that Jaycees and American Legion clubs in northeastern Ohio "are being raided with the kind of firepower once reserved for drug barons and killers on the lam."

    These gambling crackdowns carry a whiff of hypocrisy. Even as it sends SWAT teams to protect citizens from the scourge of gambling, Virginia spends $20 million a year promoting its state lottery. As police in Ohio knock over private poker games, the Ohio Lottery pulled in $2.15 billion in 2005. And while Maryland police have been busting charity tournaments, the state's lottery cashes in on the poker craze with scratch-off games such as Royal Flush, Aces & 8s and Poker Showdown.

    Fairfax apparently serves all of its search warrants with SWAT teams. But officials and county residents need to ask themselves if they want to live in a community in which routine police work and vice warrants are carried out by officers armed with gear more appropriate to a battlefield. Their answer may determine whether Salvatore Culosi represents an accident or a trend.
  2. 155gunner

    155gunner Monkey+++ Founding Member

    The law enforcement crowd is becoming way too reliant on SWAT. There are towns of 1000 residents here in Oklahoma with a SWAT team!! What a huge waste of money and resources.
  3. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    I love the avatar change! :lol: :lol: :lol: [ROFL]
  4. Galactus

    Galactus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Ask yourself would you rather go into any situation under strengthed, and under gunned, or with overwhelming force?
  5. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    that might be a minor justification if going in to deal with serious dangerous types but it is pure and simply dangerous overkill in 99% of the incidents. It is a travesty to to turn a military force into a means of subjugation. This reeks of Nazi Germany, not the United States. WHere do they cease to use this military power, with unpaid traffic tickets? Ask yourself whether you would like to awakened with a polite knock on your door and handed a summons to appear in traffic court or if you want your door kicked in by machinegun toting masked men with flash-bangs? It scares the hell out of me to think that this generation is so conditioned to this type of abuse that a question like this would even be asked.
  6. Galactus

    Galactus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I am not condoning any action, just posing a question. I am affraid to say that anyone bursting into my residence heavily armed would be best served to have a team to carry the first few out feet first.
  7. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I understand your final statement but you missed the point of Seacowboys questions. With the first scenerio, that type of police action would result in your reaction and people would die unnecessarily - you included.
  8. Cousin Jack

    Cousin Jack Knifemaker Founding Member

    *sigh* cops are employed by the "state"...The "state" cannot be trusted.

    Face it...The U.S. is more of a fascist state than it is a free one, and this situation is very much like you would have found in Nazi Germany, where the gov't used terror tactics to force its citizens into obedience. The people became so conditioned to these types of gov't responses that they were paralyzed, pretended not to notice, or just didn't care when the jackboots came around to "visit" the neighbors.

    What we are experiencing today, with our gov't in America, is no less than a "polite tyranny". With every Patriot Act, every Homeland Security Organization, every Transportation Security Agency,and every time our civil liberties are suspended due to natural disasters, it becomes less and less polite.
  9. Galactus

    Galactus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I think a good portion of it is money motivated. A departement receives a grant to outfit a SWAT team, and to justify further tradtional funding from the municipalities the department must show a need for the team. As always it boils down to money, not neccesarily the duty to protect and serve. This condition weaves it's roots all the way to the very upper echelons of our government.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    "Fair" distributions of HSA funds by our government. We need a full scale anti terrorism establishment in every burg regardless of size. And, with no real problems to deal with, they get to practice on the dentist that hand loads for his hobby. Ycch.
  11. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I certainly agree Galactus.
  12. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We need our own SM SWAT team. I am sure that if we wrote up a request we could probably get a grant. Who here doesn't need automatic weapons and tactical gear? Besides, it would help with border security/Crusades III and any other problems (board wars?) we happened upon.
  13. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I've been watching the militarization of local yocal LEOs in many small towns as well.

    What used to be the Peace Officer in the pressed pants and tie has now been replaced by black cargo pants, Tactical belts and other black gear.

    My thoughts are that the new name of the game is intimidation rather than cooperation. As stated before, you should not have to feel fear when you see a Cruiser pull up on your rear bumper.

    My local small town cops have Zero need for M16s and Flash Bangs. Unless they have other plans in the future. Maybe they are just trying to ditch the Donut jokes and embrace the new sterotype of JBT.

    You going to ask theis guy how to get to the Post Office?
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Our assets are surely not concentrated, a good plan for security of ops and materials. (Still don't understand some of the clustering I see on the news that show the troops all bunched up.) ;)
  15. Galactus

    Galactus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Barney Fife is rolling over in his grave.
  16. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    The mentality that goes along with the militarization of local LEO is what scares me. The strings tied to federal moneys is the same for police departments as it was for federal highways and free lunch programs; we pay their band and dance to their music....or else. Ask or search about federal guidelines for arrest quotas and remember drive 55, seatbelts, bicycle helments, La. drinking legal drinking age, just to name a few federal strings with dollars attached.
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