Local Cops Ready for War

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons

    decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far? Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting report.

    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.

    Interactive Map: States Spend Billions on Homeland Security

    <figure class="multimedia section"> 1324437456874. <figcaption class="figcaption"> Atlanta Police S.W.A.T. members searched a building for a shooting suspect in July of 2010., John Bazemore
    </figcaption> </figure> The buying spree has transformed local police departments into small, army-like forces, and put intimidating equipment into the hands of civilian officers. And that is raising questions about whether the strategy has gone too far, creating a culture and capability that jeopardizes public safety and civil rights while creating an expensive false sense of security.

    “The argument for up-armoring is always based on the least likely of terrorist scenarios,” says Mark Randol, a former terrorism expert at the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress. “Anyone can get a gun and shoot up stuff. No amount of SWAT equipment can stop that.”

    Local police bristle at the suggestion that they’ve become “militarized,” arguing the upgrade in firepower and other equipment is necessary to combat criminals with more lethal capabilities. They point to the 1997 Los Angeles-area bank robbers who pinned police for hours with assault weapons, the gun-wielding student who perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and the terrorists who waged a bloody rampage in Mumbai, India, that left 164 people dead and 300 wounded in 2008.

    The new weaponry and battle gear, they insist, helps save lives in the face of such threats. “I don’t see us as militarizing police; I see us as keeping abreast with society,” former Los Angeles Police chief William Bratton says. “And we are a gun-crazy society.”

    “I don’t see us as militarizing police; I see us as keeping abreast with society.”
    Adds Fargo Police Lt. Ross Renner, who commands the regional SWAT team: “It’s foolish to not be cognizant of the threats out there, whether it’s New York, Los Angeles, or Fargo. Our residents have the right to be protected. We don’t have everyday threats here when it comes to terrorism, but we are asked to be prepared.”

    The skepticism about the Homeland spending spree is less severe for Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York, which are presumed to be likelier targets. But questions persist about whether money was handed out elsewhere with any regard for risk assessment or need. And the gap in accounting for the decade-long spending spree is undeniable. The U.S. Homeland Security Department says it doesn’t closely track what’s been bought with its tax dollars or how the equipment is used. State and local governments don’t maintain uniform records either.

    To assess the changes in law enforcement for The Daily Beast, the Center for Investigative Reporting conducted interviews and reviewed grant spending records obtained through open records requests in 41 states. The probe found stockpiles of weaponry and military-style protective equipment worthy of a defense contractor’s sales catalog.

    Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons - The Daily Beast
  2. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    Would have rather they used the funds to buy snow cone machines like Michigan
    Falcon15, VHestin, VisuTrac and 3 others like this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    In case it isn't obvious, federal grants = giveaways, usually of the unnecessary to the un-needy. At taxpayer's expense of course. Case extant, I paid for part of Fargo's PD upgrades, but won't see a penny's worth of extra security. The many "aiding" the few. Can't help wondering how many pair of knee pads Fargo's mayor had to wear out making his case for the grant.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    QS beat me to posting this one.... Those folks in Fargo are all set, IF, the Northern Neighbors start invading.......
    Cephus and Falcon15 like this.
  5. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Or, they can initiate their own cross-border raids. Need a few dozen cases of Molson Golden and Moosehead for the Policeman's Ball.......

    I'd bet they didn't work hard to get those grants - the FedGov loves to hand out the moolah and goodies - to it's 'friends'.......
    The strings are connected - someday they'll be pulled.
    Cephus, Mountainman and Falcon15 like this.
  6. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    They aren't easy. Our county and city employee a professional grant writer to get grants. A good grant writer makes serious coin from what I hear. Ours freelances for numerous area counties and local govts
  7. STANGF150

    STANGF150 Knowledge Seeker

    I'm still wondering from the story what "battlefield-grade ammunition" is [dunno]

    Never really considered Fargo North Dakota as a hotbed of criminal activity, muchless Terroristic level Gun Crimes!!!
    Cephus likes this.
  8. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    If we assume "battlefield-grade ammunition" means milspec wouldn't that mean the ammo is actually subpar as compared to some of the brand name stuff due to the Hague Convention restricting .mils to ball ammo?
  9. Espada

    Espada Monkey+

    I read it as those police and the people in power in Fargo are all set if the locals start Tea Partying too hard, or ask too many difficult questions in the next Townhall meeting.
    Falcon15 and Pax Mentis like this.
  10. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    No knee pads just sold the city's soul to the devil (Big Brother) contract singed with the blood of once free tax payers.

    I would like to say though there is a need for patrol rifles We as L.E.O.'s are out guned on most calls we respond to. If citizens can legally own assault rifles why can't we as L.E.O.'s own them to protect ourselves nd our community. The AR and mini 14 just happen to be good reliable rifles for L,E.O. and civilan defense. Now I dont see the need for tank, choppers, 50cal sniper rifles or m-60's and dressing up like rambo to police the community. Plus look at it like this the anti-gun pukes would use it like this why shold American citizens be able to buy and possess firearms that our police can't possess. Then when one of us boys in blue fall. They will use it that L.E.O. cant protect us from weapons they cant stop and are giving their life trying. Any time we limit anyone from lawfully owning and using a firearm for defense we are aiding in the goverment to restrict our rights to own that firearm as well.
  11. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Meth heads do not go gently

    Meth was an issue BEFRORE the massive oil boom, I hate to think what it is like now.

    Arrest and sentencing data may indicate increasing drug availability throughout North Dakota. During a 10-year period, arrests for drug violations in North Dakota increased 122 percent from 682 arrests in 1989 to 1,517 arrests in 1998; however, drug arrests decreased slightly to 1,456 in 1999. Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data indicate an overall increase of 95 percent in drug arrests from 745 in 1990 to 1,456 in 1999. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, slightly more than 60 percent of all individuals sentenced were sentenced for methamphetamine-related offenses in North Dakota during the 4-year period 1997 through 2000.

    Alaska went thru an oil boom in the late 70s.
    NoDak is getting one now - complete with the massive increase in crime of all types.
  12. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    Most of us here if we were criminals I would dread the thought of having to confront one of us in our home or on our property. I know a lot of the guy's make the joke we going to your house when SHTF. As an L.E.O. I have delt with bad guy's who have the same ideas and equipment that we do. The only difference is we are lawful citizens who believe in values and try to do the right things. So just look around at your prepps, and hardware and think what if if was an L.E.O. and had to take a bad guy out of here. Even with the equipment it's going to be hard to dig us out.
    Cephus, larryinalabama and Dogfood like this.
  13. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    Sad part is that many cities and counties are broke and haveing to let the bad guys out of jail.

    Also the boarders remain wide open
    Cephus and Alpha Dog like this.
  14. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    One thing I've often thought (and I know this opinion may prove unpopular) is that LEO's should be buying their own gear. You need a bullet resistant vest? Buy it and write it off on your taxes. Same goes for patrol rifles and other miscellaneous gear. Teachers spend a significant amount of money on supplies for the classroom, the mechanic spends thousands on the tools of his trade, the accountant buys expensive software yearly, etc, etc. I don't view law enforcement as any different. The LEO chose the career and that means they chose the danger and everything that comes with the job. Oddly it is never the LEO's themselves I hear pitching a fit, it always comes down to the unions crusading for $$$ in the name of keeping the LEO or the public safe. Hell I delivered pizza's in a dangerous area and bought my own body armor and wrote it off as well as my firearms.
    jim2, Cephus, Falcon15 and 2 others like this.
  15. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    We do buy most of our equipment the vest the dept pays for as for the teachers here i have several close friends they dont buy any thing but now we are a rual state and county not a school in NY. Police unions here are illegal so are they in NC They are real big up north. I never understood how a L.E.O. or Medic could go on strike any way. If the people dont want us armed to protect ourselves or the equipment to handle the job of going in getting the bad guy I think we should start refusing the calls because under the labor act we dont have to do a job if we dont have the saftey equipment to do it. Let some of the citizens go in and try to take the bad guy out and save the family from being raped and killed by the crazed man with the AK. Then alot of them would see what its like and what is needed.
  16. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama Monkey++

    Around these neck of the woods bad guys dont last long, nothing to do with law enforcement.
  17. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    I done skips for a long time I would get any where from 500.00 to 20,000.00 to bring a bail jumper in sometimes a very hard job and sometimes 45min $3000.00 I made enough to by any equipment as an L.E.O. and not complainig I get 14hrs. I still do alot of PI work on the side and get paid $30 to $50 an hour for the same job I get $14hr. Plus no rules to follow or rights to violate when bringing a bail jump back
    jim2, Cephus and larryinalabama like this.
  18. Redneck Rebel

    Redneck Rebel Monkey++

    Actually that is the hilarious part about the police/fire/corrections unions. They are treated the same as the air traffic controllers and are not legally able to strike. They exist soley for the purpose of existing w/ the cover story that they exist to ensure their members are properly funded and equipped. You know I'm appreciative of the losing battle LEO's fight (against the courts as much as the criminals). But with Ohio's SB5 fight such a recent thing I've developed this belief that you don't pick a job if you are unwilling to accept what it entails.
    Cephus, Falcon15 and Alpha Dog like this.
  19. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    I agree we all do what we do because we for the most part we enjoy it. If you take a job wheather it be in a coal mines, L.E.O., steel worker or a cashier we know whwt the job calls for and if we can't do whats needed we should seek other employment.
    Cephus and Redneck Rebel like this.
  20. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Especially when the terrain is against whomever is doing the digging.

    Literally, there is only one way in here. The rest of the ways are a seriously long walk. Digging a small group out would be an educational experience.

    We didn't choose the place for the defensive qualities.


    That is the view when standing at the kitchen sink. :D
    BackwoodsmanUSA, Cephus and Falcon15 like this.
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