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Militarization of local law enforcement

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From page A5 | February 01, 2013 | 26 Comments

At the same time controversy swirls around proposals for even stricter gun control measures, below the radar is the increasing militarization of police agencies in the country from the federal government down to local police departments.

This has occurred despite the fact that the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally bars the military from law enforcement activities within the United States and the traditional role of law enforcement officers in America has been as peace keepers, not soldiers.

Both Democratic and Republic administrations have been equally responsible for such developments. The Reagan Administration helped draw up the Military Cooperation With Civilian Law Enforcement Act which encouraged the Pentagon to give law enforcement agencies unfettered access to military resources, training and hardware. During the Clinton administration, law enforcement agencies were provided with 1.2 million military items including 3,800 M-16s, 185 M-14s, 73 grenade launchers and 112 armored personnel carriers.

The events of 9/11 accelerated this trend as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants for equipment and surplus military hardware have made available armored response vehicles, tanks and Predator drones to local police forces.

According to the Atlantic Magazine, ”before 9/11, the usual heavy weaponry available to a small-town police officer consisted of a standard pump-action shotgun, perhaps a high-power rifle, and possibly a surplus M-16, which would usually have been kept in the trunk of the supervising officer’s vehicle. Now, police officers routinely walk the beat armed with assault rifles and garbed in black full-battle uniforms.”

Training in law enforcement has also been provided to top-level American police chiefs, sheriffs and senior federal agents by the Israelis who are known for their often harsh policing tactics.

There have also been recent purchases by federal agencies of over a billion rounds of ammunition, with the DHS buying most of it.

Last year the DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) awarded defense contractor ATK with an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity agreement for .40 caliber hollow point ammunition. According to ATK, U.S. agents will receive a maximum of 450 million rounds over a five-year period.

Last July, DHS placed an additional order for another 750 million rounds of ammunition. Included in the order were .357 mag rounds and hollow point bullets.

Other federal agencies have also placed orders, albeit for smaller quantities. The Social Security Administration put out a request for a quote (RFQ) for 174,000 rounds of hollow point bullets, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ordered 46,000 rounds of hollow point bullets, the FBI ordered 100 million rounds of ammo in Nov. of 2011, and the Department of Agriculture issued bids for 321,000 rounds of various types of ammo.

Many federal agencies have their own police forces and maintain they need the ammunition for firearms practice. But that does not answer the question of why these agencies need their own police force in the first place and why the DHS needs over a billion rounds of ammunition for practice.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

 

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Discussion | 26 comments

  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:01 am

    "Homeland Security increasingly lending drones to local police" - - HERE

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:03 am

    "Homeland Security Quietly Runs “Loan-a-Drone” Program for Local Law Enforcement" - HERE

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:06 am

    "Privacy battle against U.S. drone surveillance ramps up" - HERE

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:11 am

    "In America Drones Are a Local Issue: In Violation of Fourth Amendment" - - HERE - In the absence of state or federal laws, localities around the United States are proceeding to put unmanned aerial vehicles in our skies as they see fit. The federal government has authorized the flight of 30,000 drones, and the use of drones up to 400 feet by police departments, at least 300 of which already have surveillance drones in operation. States and localities can ban or regulate such actions. Or they can proceed to endanger our health and our civil rights. In Montgomery County, Texas, the Sheriff showed off a drone to the media but crashed it into his armored vehicle (thereby, I guess, proving that he needed an armored vehicle). When the Dept. of Homeland Security challenged the University of Texas-Austin to hack into a drone and take control of it, the response was “No problem,” and it was quickly done. Drones are not safe. Surveillance by drones cannot comply with the Fourth Amendment. And the arming of drones with tear gas and rubber bullets, already underway in many U.S. localities, is an outrageous threat to our First Amendment right to assemble and petition our governments for a redress of grievances.

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:35 am

    . . . but on the subject of munitions purchases, back in September 2012 Israel National News wrote "U.S. Homeland Security is preparing for an all-out “American Spring” rebellion" - HERE - “All of the sniper grade ammunition is being used by trained, or in-the-process-of-being-trained snipers,” … . Adding up the number of lethal bullets tallies a potential 135,384 kills for the snipers, based on U.S. Army and Marine figures from the Vietnam War, when soldiers used 1.3 rounds of ammunition for each verified kill. Nearly half a billion rounds of ammunition purchased last March expand on entry into a body to cause maximum wounds. The large number of bullets raises questions if such large quantities are needed only for training. In addition, 750 million bullets can penetrate walls.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:35 am

    Evelyn -- Up early, too, I see. Just a note to let you know I've been keeping score...congratulations! You are the first poster on this forum to score in the Voice of Reason range (ie > 0).

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  • EvelynFebruary 01, 2013 - 4:39 am

    Good morning, Kirk. Have a bullet-proof day!

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  • Paddy O'furnitureFebruary 01, 2013 - 6:40 am

    Grenade Launchers? For local police? What in blazes would you need a grenade launcher for in a locality? Can anyone say "Waco"?

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  • 1036-FrankFebruary 01, 2013 - 10:57 am

    If these resources were diverted to secure our Southern border from the heavily armed invasion of drug cartel gangs it would have a purpose. For these items to be stockpiled has caused the supply to disappear and the prices to hit records. The question being what is DHS gearing up for? The incompetents currently in power seem clueless about securing the open border and have no idea how many millions with criminal records, many for murder, have used it to enter illegally in the last decade or two, shouldn't this be a concern of the federal govt? An example is the near one third of inmates in prison are here illegally and many have been deported multiple times. Local agencies are given the military surplus items free and have taken advantage, this is nothing new, and with the open border the items are needed, these cartel gangs are starting to spread out and are a danger to all.

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  • cookie65February 02, 2013 - 9:49 am

    This just in..... Janet Reno training local law enforcement agencies on collateral damage/subtitled/the best witness is a dead witness... film at 11...

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  • EvelynFebruary 02, 2013 - 9:58 am

    Perhaps Richard & Co. would care to comment on the scenario where: (1) criminals continue behaving like ... well, criminals; (2) ordinary people are restricted in matters of self-defense; and (3) local police have grenade launchers, hollow-point bullets and armored tanks.

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  • EvelynFebruary 02, 2013 - 10:00 am

    TANKS

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  • EvelynFebruary 02, 2013 - 10:09 am

    "Georgia police acquired $200 million worth of military-grade vehicles and weapons through DoD" - HERE

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  • Paddy O'furnitureFebruary 02, 2013 - 12:10 pm

    Yeah, so where are the anti-gunners on this? If you want less guns on the streets, does this bug you? Or are of the opinion that the government should have a monopoly on violence?

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  • DeeFebruary 02, 2013 - 1:15 pm

    Paddy-I respectfully suggest that everytime the big government Democrats whine about McClintock, Gaines or Nutting that we remind them that they won the election. Turn about is alway fair play.

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  • James E.February 02, 2013 - 1:43 pm

    Ms. Dee (no last name), what election was won?

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  • DeeFebruary 02, 2013 - 2:04 pm

    Longhofer, if you don't know, I guess I'll just keep it a secret.

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  • James E.February 02, 2013 - 2:51 pm

    Ms. Dee NoName, it was your comment and now we have to guess? Not a very effective communication. OK, let me guess, when liberals complain about McClintock, Gaines, and Nutting (don't think I've ever complained about Nutting, as I know nothing about county politics), the Tea/Republican response is going to be "Hey, Liberal, Obama won the election." Very strange -- so when I complain, you are going to cheer me up by reminding me that Obama won???? What's the nexus Ms. NoName, what's the nexus? Rather than answer, I'm expecting another lame response from Ms. NoName and I know she won't disappoint.

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  • DeeFebruary 02, 2013 - 2:59 pm

    Longhofer, I am so sorry. I thought a man of your expertise would understand that if I name McClintock, Gaines and Nutting, I am referring to their elections not to the National General Election. .

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  • DeeFebruary 02, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Oh and Longhofer, I hope that was lame enough for you.

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  • James E.February 02, 2013 - 3:09 pm

    Ms. Dee NoName, yes, that was lame enough. And, remember, Obama won the election.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 02, 2013 - 3:14 pm

    As far as the government arming their employees? My sister works for the FDA as a food inspector. She carries a .40 cal. Beretta. She now makes me nervous when she watches me cook.

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  • DeeFebruary 02, 2013 - 3:16 pm

    Longhofer, and McClintock, Gaines and Nutting and D’Agostini won theirs so the big government Democrats can stop their whining and continue the complete take over of the State and Country at the next election.

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  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 15, 2013 - 7:15 am

    Online rumors about a big government munitions purchase are true, sort of. The Homeland Security Department wants to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the next four or five years . . . LINK - Why is the Department of Homeland Security buying so many bullets? - Alex Jones the talk-show host did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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  • EvelynFebruary 24, 2013 - 7:53 am

    "Black Churches Condemn Obama Administration's Drone Policy as Murder and Evil" - HERE - The Obama Administration has us believe that terrorism is the greatest threat to humanity, and that they reserve the right through the secular American creed to kill anyone, anywhere, who they label part of a terrorist organization. This is why they spent 1 trillion dollars to go after ONE man. ... We believe that the greatest threat to humanity are laws that assume moral absolutism to determine who lives and who dies. ... The black church is not only appalled that this comes out of the administration of the only black president, but we are frightened by the monstrous tendencies that have emerged from this administration. ********** THANK YOU.

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  • EvelynFebruary 24, 2013 - 7:57 am

    I, too, am "frightened by the monstrous tendencies that have emerged from this administration."

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