It's Time for Law Enforcement to copy Walmart
By Rick Dalton
Yes, just like the famous price "rollback" that has endeared the world's largest retailer to customers nationwide, it's time for America's law enforcement community to take a serious look at the disturbing - and deadly - trend of militarization, and to roll it back.
Sheriff's or Soldiers?
With an increasingly frantic pace, the number of paramilitary raids on American citizens by militarized civilian law enforcement personnel has skyrocketed from about 3,000 in 1985 to more than 40,000 annually today. (source: Cato Institute). Some estimates are as high as 80,000.
These operations, which have resulted in innocent and unnecessary injuries and deaths to civilians and police as well, increasingly employ what is clearly overkill. The use of excessive force is becoming more common, and in an alarming number of cases, the wrong suspects are targeted.
The idea of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) came about in the 1960s in Los Angeles, and with increasing sophistication of criminal gangs and other like organizations, there is some justification when the suspects of the service of an arrest or search warrant are known known to be violent and to possess weapons. But is there a need for over $500 million in military equipment - tanks, APCs, etc. - to be transferred to civilian law enforcement in only one year (2011)?
Many of the raids being conducted, too often with tragic results, are to serve narcotics warrants, and manuy of the suspects are non-violent offenders, living with their families, including children.
Citizens were subjected to military urban warfare tactics
during the hunt for the Boston Bombing suspects.
Our first responders