General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Has "Homeland Security" run its course in the US?

Asked by ibstubro (18636points) August 13th, 2014

How “Militarized” can the local law enforcement people be, before they see the populous as the “enemy”?

Flack vests. Humvees.

Where do we draw the line between local military intervention and local police protection?

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15 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Oh I think it’s far from it, you aint seen nothin yet, can’t tell ya how glad I am to be a Canadian, it’s been close to twenty years since I have been in the states and if it’s twenty more that’s more than fine with me.

rojo's avatar

I agree @SQUEEKY2

How do you circumvent the Posse Comitatus Act? Why by making the police into the military instead of vise versa.

Five things that have civil liberties advocates nervous from PBS

sinscriven's avatar

The line was drawn long ago, but nobody is able/willing to enforce it.

What’s going on in Ferguson, MO right now is a chilling example of what’s to come.

LuckyGuy's avatar

To help balance the budget and increase security the military is now selling outdated vehicles and equipment to local law enforcement agencies. The military likes it because they get a few cents on the dollar back. The law enforcement agencies like it because they get a cool piece of hardware they can show off in the Heritage Day Parade for pennies on the dollar. The Sheriff likes it because he can taut that accomplishment during a reelection year. I might go as far as to suggest environmentalists prefer reuse rather than scrapping and making a new vehicle.

As a taxpayer in a small community I figure if there’s room for one of those in the DPW garage, and it is almost free, you might as well get one so you can pull out any snow plows that slide off the road or quickly push downed trees out of the road after high winds. They can always be scrapped later for the metal.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@LuckyGuy What is much harder to scrap after a program like that is the “police are an army” mentality that creeps into these small forces. Give them these toys, and they will be used, regardless of the lack of need. The people become less free, and more fearful of authority. Outside of economic considerations, this is not good for anyone.

zenvelo's avatar

It went way too far 12 years ago. The police in this country need to be disarmed, nothing more than a pistol. If the police had shown up to the peaceful demonstration in Ferguson in just simple uniforms and not in armor, it would have quieted down Monday night.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@dappled_leaves Yep! I picture a “Good ‘ole boy” Sheriff down south really getting off on the stuff just looking for a place to use his armored personnel carrier. There are crazies on both sides of the badge. Sadly they don’t need big equipment to wreak havoc on the populations. They already have pepper spray, handguns, and the ability to arrest for resisting arrest.

However, I do like the idea of the DPW getting old military construction and road maintenance vehicles at reduced prices. Heavy equipment as well as generators and fuel should be stored in many areas so it is readily available in case of natural or (unnatural) disasters. Neighboring towns can quickly help the one that is hit.

By the way ~3 years ago our town got a 500kW diesel generator. It is on standby at the pumping station just in case. It can be used to power the hospital if needed. The DPW guys maintain it.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@LuckyGuy Way to downplay what you originally posted. That video and article are not about generators and construction/maintenance vehicles. That story is about armoured, mine-resistant vehicles, tactical gear and weapons. If they aren’t going to be used at all, why are you delighted at the idea of their being stored with the “Good ‘ole boy Sheriff”? Surely, if they are never meant to be used, that would be a waste of resources.

ibstubro's avatar

“And why do St. Louis-area police have in the first place?” indeed.

@dappled_leaves above link is the heart of my question.

When has there been a time when the American Domestic Police Force has had need of “roof-mounted machine guns on armored vehicles”? Wasn’t that why the National Guard used to be called in?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

We’re there. All it will take for us to know it is something big enough to get the authorities to bring the hurt down on non-cooperators. We need Andy Griffith and Barney Fife back in office. When fear is the predominate emotion when meeting law enforcement then things have turned around on us.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@dappled_leaves In all my posts I was saying heavy equipment should go to the DPW, Department of Public Works -not the police department. Even the armored vehicle shown in the article is useful in a disaster.
My point with the with the Good ole boy Sheriff is that bad eggs are bad eggs – whether they are equipped with armored vehicles or not. Bad eggs should not be in that position.

There was a shooting in Rochester a number of years ago. I don’t remember the details but I do remember a couple of important facts. The bad guy had high powered stuff that could penetrate the police cars. At least one officer was shot and was lying injured in the street. The police called in a city garage truck (DPW) to block the bullets so they could rescue him.

rojo's avatar

We do not have a lot of killings here but back in 2012 we had an incident where a constable was shot and killed while serving an eviction notice. Three other people were shot, two people walking down the street (one killed, one wounded) and a police officer wounded in the firefight that followed. The police and the swat team were called out and eventually ended up killing the guy.

In the aftermath the sheriff then called for military assault rifles to be bought for every deputy. Part of his reasoning was that they should be as well armed as the criminals. Then the local police department decided they would need 67 semi-auto assault rifles as well. I suppose we can’t have deputies better armed than police officers.

Now, would the assault rifle have saved the life of the constable? No, it would have been in his car when delivered his notice. Would it have saved the life of the civilian who was shot walking by? No it would not have. Would it have kept the other civilian from being wounded? Again, no. And once the police department and the swat team arrived and surrounded the place would it have kept the other officer from being wounded? No, there was a swat team with automatic weapons on the scene and it happened anyway.
The only thing that would have stopped all these people from being shot with a high powered weapon was if that weapon was kept out of the hands of the killer.

Another interesting thing was that officers who were furnished with these weapons were then eligible to purchase them from the department when they left/retired/whatever.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Homeland security is alive and well, and only destined to further erode privacy and civil liberties. Despite any protestations to the contrary, it is NECESSARY for any police force to maintain an adversarial and suspicious attitude regarding the general public, or for a more accurate description “persons unknown”. The slapped together, hastily assembled “homeland security” apparatus has about as much to do with professionalism as I do with the crown of England. The unwieldy conglomeration is a knee-jerk reaction to 911 and everybody knows it. Since both the quality and competence of such an arrangement is less than likely to be ideal, there is therefore enormous pressure to gather sort and catalog every scrap of information there is on each and every one of us through whatever means available. Meanwhile, as our actions in the Middle East balloon the already interminable list of those who despise us, we must only expect our leadership to encourage us to adapt to the realities best illustrated by Israel. What is the definition of “democracy” in a garrison state?

ibstubro's avatar

Sorry, @LuckyGuy. You can’t wiggle out of a link.

I wonder how much delivering, repainting and fueling the vehicles costs? Regardless of the source of those funds, they would have been used elsewhere.

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