Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Police or Military?
This article discusses something I have had concerns about for some time. As local police take more and more money from state and federal agencies the police have become more and more like the military. The federal government particularly has been giving or selling at low cost military equipment for local police. They also are training officers to behave in a more military fashion.
I believe there is a role for ballistic helmets, armored cars, external body armor, and patrol rifles. What concerns me is that too many agencies are using them when they are not really necessary. The problem is that SWAT teams are being used to arrest everyone at their home or to serve search warrants. The threat of a suspect should be analyzed and a determination made at a management level if that level of force is really needed. People who are not suspected of crimes of violence should not generally be subjected to a SWAT raid.
The other concern I have it many SWAT teams and even regular officers are dressing more and more like a paramilitary group or the armed forces. I don't see the need for SWAT teams to be dressed in clothing that does not look like police gear. The average police uniform colors are good enough for street cops, I don't see why SWAT teams should wear green, all black or camouflage. In fact, SWAT teams should look more like police than police so that their identity is never in question; that's what the SGT Says.