Friday, September 12, 2014

On Police "Militarization"...

Those critics of the police who claim that we should "return to a day when all police were like Mayberry's Sheriff Taylor" need to remember that Sheriff Taylor--a completely fictional character BTW--never had to go up against scumbags with AK-47s.

Slain South Carolina deputy’s body armor did not stop AK-47 bullets

RIP, Deputy Joseph Matuskovic. If it's any consolation, at least the dirtball who murdered you got what he had coming.

So for purposes of discussion, when are we going to start calling for the criminals to "de-militarize"? In this case, the bad guy clearly had the good guys out-gunned. What's the solution to that problem? I personally don't see one, but disarming or hindering America's law enforcement community, aka: the good guys, isn't it, IMHO.


  1. Anonymous10:31 AM

    I see it as a change in attitude, not equipment. Well, not dressing as a Sturm Abteilung (don't hide the face) would help!

    1. I have to say that, as one who gets pulled over frequently for speeding, I have never had a police officer walk up to me in a face mask or wearing camoflage. Where is this alleged to be happening?

    2. Anonymous9:52 AM

      I'm speaking of those officers who breach homes, with or without a warrant, or go to the wrong address to serve such. They just don't resemble Sheriff Taylor anymore.
      I'm with Col. Cooper - using a rifle with a banana magazine or hiding one's face deserves target status.
      Just sayin'...

    3. 1. Police officers never resembled "Sheriff Taylor". He was a made-up TV character in a made-up TV town. Real 1950's cops would kick your ass or shoot you much more quickly than most of today's police officers will.

      2. Are you saying that you don't even support officers executing an arrest warrant issued by a judge in full compliance with the Constitution if the person sought is in their house or someone else's? I also have to ask if you seriously believe that any police officer with an AR-15 or MP-5 deserves to be "targeted" (I assume that you mean "shot")? So the next time that some rabid school shooter is murdering a classrom fluu of kids, you'd snipe at the first responders if they were police with high-capacity magazines in their long guns?

      Wow. Hope I read that wrong.

  2. I'm ok with Police having access to the rifles, vests and protective gear, I wouldn't want them to be outgunned. In my neck of the woods, that's becoming increasingly likely. My issues are with armored cars and the like. However, the biggest concern I have is with the what seems to be ever increasing rate of using SWAT tactics for non-violent police interventions. Finally, on what planet does the Department of Education need a SWAT team?

  3. Anonymous11:19 AM

    I agree with ArmedLaughing; it isn't the equipment they have but the way they use it --really stacking up on doors to serve non-violent warrants and the attitude behind some of the cops.

    If we could combine today's tech with Sheriff Taylor's morality MORE we would be in better shape. Large portion of of the cops do this, but as they say the rest gives them a bad name.

    Bob S.

  4. Escalation on the bad guy's part WILL NOT STOP... But MRAPs are a 'bit' over the top...

    1. Yeah, maybe. But it's hard to turn down free stuff...and it's not like an MRAP has any offensive capability. Aren't we the ones who oppose banning rifles just based on how they look?

  5. I would tend to agree with the previous comments. The police are not "officer friendly" anymore. I try to avoid any interaction with them, because they seem to want to intimidate citizens they come into contact with from the moment they walk up the car window.

  6. Murphy -- there's a HUGE difference between opposing banning things purchased by private citizens with their own money, and the public paying for (even if not purchased, MRAPs have much larger maintenance costs AND are more vulnerable to small arms fire than armored up cars as are used world wide for riot control and such).

    What I pay for with my money is one thing.

    What my EMPLOYEES expect me to pay for with my taxes is another -- if I'm paying, they need to justify it.

    As for a cop's body armor not stopping "AK47 fire". . . guess what? That vest wouldn't have stopped fire from a plain-Jane deer rifle, either. As for it being an "arms race", well, the problem is the officer is STILL more likely to be shot by another police weapon than a criminal wielding an "assault rifle" (even if you include the semiauto only rifles that only look like assault rifles). Plus, the bank robbers of Depression were even more heavily armed, on average.

    Nor does having specific gear necessarily equal "over militarization". I have no problem with cops having carbines, k-pots, or even heavy "raid" vests in every single cruiser.

    However, serving SEARCH warrants, or even arrest warrants for non-violent crimes where there is no reasonable cause to expect a massive firefight, using the SWAT team in full battle rattle, just because they're handy (the "S" in SWAT stands for "Special", not "Standard Practice") is a problem. Treating every search warrant as a high-risk breaching operation is a problem.

    Nor does any of this actually contribute to overall officer safety -- because it DOES breed distrust for the officers, even amongst population segments that, by and large, assumed the cops were probably justified in almost every dispute. The downside will be officers deprived of proper tools, even where those tools are appropriate, because people don;t trust them NOT to misuse them.

    1. "Treating every search warrant as a high-risk breaching operation..."

      Er, [citation needed].

  7. Thing is, you miss the point. It isn't always the equipment that defines militarization...It is the whole enchilada.

    Cops aren't wearing a uniform anymore, they are wearing tactical clothing dyed black. Street cops. Now while SWAT may need tactical clothing, this should not be a part of the normal wear of a street cop. THe uniform is to make him easily identifiable as acop, not so he feels badass and so he looks like a commando.

    The other day, I allowed a "team" to practice at one of my establishments. (They needed it badly, and it might save their lives)....Every cop had to "gear up" even for the practice. Their gear included balaclava. Now this is intended to reduce the visibility of their faces at night. They wore it during the daytime. When I pointed that out, they said it was to conceal their identities.

    What cop ever needs to use camo face paint? Yep, they had it. And used it. In an urban setting....practicing building/room clearing....(and painting stripes on your face isn't very good camo...unless you've seen too many Rambo movies).

    We won't even get into muzzle discipline. I left before I saw someone (me) get shot. Amazing that no one was.

    Not officer friendly. Not even close. Rambo wannabes.

    Scary. Not officer Malloy either. Urban commandos with poor training.

    Their tactics don't belong on the street...this ain't Fallujah. If it were, they'd likely have suffered a lot of casualties.

    Individually, these are good cops. Collectively, they are a bunch of failed warriors.

    1. I have to ask that you please show me one street cop who goes out on patrol in tactical clothing every day instead of a uniform with a name tag on his or her shirt. I have never seen such a thing, personally. All I see are cops in police cars, on motorcycles and bicycles and on foot in lots of areas, and they're all wearing regular police uniforms.

      Now if/when they train for tactical situations, that's another matter. Like it or not, this is a police function. Unless you want the military on our streets or believe that it's realistic to just put out a call for anyone with a CCW and an AR-15 to show up the next time there's an active shooter in the local school or shopping mall, it pretty much has to be our local police, doesn't it?

      As an aside, I have to point out that you're both criticizing the level of police training AND condemning them for training. Do you want them trained or not? And if not, who do you expect to see do the job if and when that day comes?

  8. I want them trained. But their "training" isn't training. It is play. I was saddened by what I saw. It is probably better than doing nothing, but not by much. Seriously. And striped facepaint? Get a grip.

    And yes, they run around in their black "tactical" costumes in regular daily work. They even have nametags that also say "Tactical Team" on them and everything so people will know the dude in the black outfit is "tactical".

    This is Lake County, Indiana, if you are interested.

    Next time I am at the bowling alley I'll take a pic of the cop who acts as security there on Friday nights. He wears Black BDU pants, combat boots and a plate carrier over his bulletproof vest (but no plate in the carrier)...He has AR mags in the pockets on the plate carrier (but the AR is in the car, a few hundred feet away).


    Now maybe there are no cops like that in West Virginia. I don't know. There are here, and in the greater metro Chicago area many are tacticaled up.

    Not all. The city cop who gave me a verbal warning for speeding last week looked like a cop. Was cool and professional and the whole incident was what a cop/citizen interaction should be like. He was wearing a blue uniform though so that may have made a difference.

    1. Well we can't really talk about the bowling alley security guard in a discussion about police officers now, can we? If the bowling alley wants to hire wanna-bes, that's their liability.

      As to Lake County, Indiana, I took a few minutes to look at their own website:

      Lake County Police Department is made up of 168 merit officers who all are Indiana Law Enforcement Academy state certified officers. Lake County Police are the primary law enforcement agency serving the unincorporated areas of the county and also provide police services to the Town of Winfield which contracts with the Sheriff office for these services. Additionally, the Police Department provides patrol assistance to the city of Gary and other cities and towns within the county. The Lake County Police Department itself is made up of 5 Divisions: Administration, Uniform, Investigations, Staff Services and Civil. Within these Divisions are subdivisions.

      Lake County Police maintain many specialty units such as Traffic, K-9, Warrants, Crime Lab, Gangs, Narcotics and Tactical (S.W.A.T) among others. The Police Department also operates the only Aviation Unit in Northwest Indiana and provides a fulltime Marine Unit on Lake Michigan.

      So they have a few officers on a tactical team, and others who do traffic, narcotics, gang, etc., as well as marine patrol and aviation. As far as I can tell, these are all proper and necessary police duties. Do you begrudge them all of those functions, or just the tactical aspect? And as I asked previously, if the local police do not perform in this role, who would you have do it? You're kinda of quick on the criticism but short on the alternative solutions here. Do you hold forth that no police agency anywhere should have SWAT capabilities? Help me out by establishing a few parameters here. What do you expect from today's police, other than breaks on speeding tickets and a deferential attitude?

  9. I expect professionalism. Mot attitudes. I expect them to be cops, not soldiers. I expect them to know when to wear a uniform and when to wear tactical gear. I expect them to understand the difference between policing and acting like occupying soldiers.

    I expect them to know that when they are at a bowling alley hired to act as security they don't need a tactical vest and magazines for a rifle that is hundreds of feet away. (and yes, the security officer at the bowling alley is a badged cop. not a private rentacop. An actual officer of the type we are talking about....with arrest powers and all that, whose full time job is as an employee of the taxpayers.)

    I expect that they can tell when they should be patrolmen and when they should call a SWAT team....and what the parameters are for the use of that SWAT team.

    I definitely think that they should wear a uniform when on patrol, not Black BDUs and tactical vests to intimidate the citizens they are hired to protect.The traffic officers have no need for tactical clothing, but they wear it.

    Is that clear enough?

    I am thinking that you either are arguing for the fun of it, really have a love affair with cops, or really don't know them very well. If the cops in your area don't wear tactical gear or act like door kickers in Fallujah, then I am glad for you. Sadly, they do here.

    1. Well of course I'm arguing for the fun of it. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't do it.

      That said, I'm starting to see a pattern emerge in these discussions that we keep having. You rant about police. I ask you specific questions about what you've said or implied or what you believe that things should be like, and you ignore every question and just fire off another non-fact-supported rant, and usually throw in a personal dig at me too. Come on,'re better than this. Let's just talk about the issue calmly and rationally, ok?

      Now I've looked at the Lake County Indiana Sheriff's Dept. website, and I don't see officers wearing BDUs and tactical vests like you describe. I see several pictures of deputies in traditional uniforms though, including the traffic officers that you claim are wearing tactical gear. But even if police officers do use BDUs and tactical carriers for certain operations, I think that it's a stretch on your part to claim that they only do it to intimidate people. It's more probable that such gear is used because it's more practical for the job that those officers are doing. So where's the problem there? And what is it that you want from the average police officer?

      Better yet, let me bring up my previous questions again, because I think that your answers would really help me see where you're coming from and help us move this discussion along in the right direction:

      So Lake County has a few officers on a tactical team, and others who do traffic, narcotics, gang, etc., as well as marine patrol and aviation. As far as I can tell, these are all proper and necessary police duties. Do you begrudge them all of those functions, or just the tactical aspect? And as I asked previously, if the local police do not perform in this role, who would you have do it? Do you hold forth that no police agency anywhere should have SWAT capabilities?

      Oh, and yeah, I do like the police for a number of reasons, chiefly because they work to deter and apprehend criminals and like a lot of other people, I really, really hate criminals.

    2. I do think that certain teams of officers need the "war wear". Doing a raid on a drug house, or apprehending a dangerous criminal or other jobs like that...yeah, they might have a need for that.

      I also think that they might occasionally need a helicopter too, I cannot see a time when they need an MRAP. A BearCat, maybe (but seldom)...but an MRAP? Big difference.

      I DON'T think that any patrol officer has a reason to wear a plate carrier with 2 or more 30 round mags on it in normal patrol duties. Writing traffic tickets and such isn't a war environment. And why the plate carrier with no plate? And by the way, the tactical officers are regular officers with some "team training".

      Why all black if not to intimidate? Yes, a significant number of officers wear their tactical team clothing on patrol. The standard uniform is brown pants with a brown shirt and a brown jacket. Uni-Form. One form. The reason for the uniform is to make the police officers readily identifiable as an officer and not some Joe average citizen. So that when a citizen is pulled over or interacts with the police they are understanding that it is a police officer.

      And yes, the posed pictures on the website show them in all uniforms. Much like a wedding picture where the men are wearing tuxes. Posed pictures. Not normal everyday wear.

      If not for the intimidation factor, or to feel and look bad-ass, why tactical clothing in all black? If you want, I will take a picture next time I encounter one. Likely won't take more than a week.

      I do think that the County needs a SWAT team. However, the SWAT team should be used sparingly, not for average warrant service and those officers should not wear their SWAT gear on patrol. There is a time and a place for that gear, and patrol and normal interactions with the citizens they are policing and protecting isn't it.

      Further when they do wear that gear, they should know when and how to use it. It isn't just a costume. They don't.

      I'm mot trying to avoid your questions. I hope that this answers the ones you asked. If not be specific as to what I missed. I'll answer.

  10. Hey folks, I love a good discussion, and this can be one, but you need to actually, you know, DISCUSS. Just tossing a handful of links to some articles from various sources at me with absolutely no comment from yourself doesn't really get us there. Come on, gang, this is where WE talk, so please make your own arguments. If you want to refer to other articles, I can accept that but at least do it in the context of making your own point in your own words.

  11. BTW, Better we take this to email before it moves off your front page...

    1. You still got my address, right?

  12. Replies
    1. Hit me up at the blogshoot e-mail address, and I'll give you my personal e-mail.