Quantcast

A decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far?

Quietman ~PWCM~JLA 2011/12/21 17:45:12
You!
Add Photos & Videos

Nestled amid plains so flat the locals joke you can watch your dog run away for miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.



But that hasn’t stopped authorities in Fargo and its surrounding county from going on an $8 million buying spree to arm police officers with the sort of gear once reserved only for soldiers fighting foreign wars.



Every city squad car is equipped today with a military-style assault rifle, and officers can don Kevlar helmets able to withstand incoming fire from battlefield-grade ammunition. And for that epic confrontation—if it ever occurs—officers can now summon a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. For now, though, the menacing truck is used mostly for training and appearances at the annual city picnic, where it’s been parked near the children’s bounce house.



“Most people are so fascinated by it, because nothing happens here,” says Carol Archbold, a Fargo resident and criminal justice professor at North Dakota State University. “There’s no terrorism here.”



Like Fargo, thousands of other local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.



Atlanta Police S.W.A.T. members searched a building for a shooting suspect in July of 2010., John Bazemore



The buying spree has transformed local police departments into small, army-like forces, and put intimidating equipment into the hands of civilian officers. And that is raising questions about whether the strategy has gone too far, creating a culture and capability that jeopardizes public safety and civil rights while creating an expensive false sense of security.



“The argument for up-armoring is always based on the least likely of terrorist scenarios,” says Mark Randol, a former terrorism expert at the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress. “Anyone can get a gun and shoot up stuff. No amount of SWAT equipment can stop that.”



Local police bristle at the suggestion that they’ve become “militarized,” arguing the upgrade in firepower and other equipment is necessary to combat criminals with more lethal capabilities. They point to the 1997 Los Angeles-area bank robbers who pinned police for hours with assault weapons, the gun-wielding student who perpetrated the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, and the terrorists who waged a bloody rampage in Mumbai, India, that left 164 people dead and 300 wounded in 2008.



The new weaponry and battle gear, they insist, helps save lives in the face of such threats. “I don’t see us as militarizing police; I see us as keeping abreast with society,” former Los Angeles Police chief William Bratton says. “And we are a gun-crazy society.”



“I don’t see us as militarizing police; I see us as keeping abreast with society.”

Read More: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/12/20/l...

Add a comment above

Top Opinion

  • CUDDLY BUT STILL CRABBY 2011/12/21 17:53:37 (edited)
    Undecided
    CUDDLY BUT STILL CRABBY
    +4
    With a wide open USA border to the South and a POTUS and administration that refuses to obey not only the Constitution but the rule of law as well, anything is possible even in Fargo ND.

    Fargo lacks two common denominators that contribute to murder and mayhem. Warmer weather and a sizable population of low-income, generational welfare crowds that IMHO the latter makes up a large percentage of criminals.

    Maybe I'm completely off-base with this comment. Maybe not.

    In any event, the USA is turning into one very large, very well-funded armed police state. Has it gone too far? Time will definitely tell.

    http://www.odmp.org/ Visit the website and pay your respects to those in the law enforcement communities who have given they're all.

Sort By
  • Most Raves
  • Least Raves
  • Oldest
  • Newest
Opinions

  • FPSRules 2011/12/21 23:07:17
    Yes
    FPSRules
    +1
    If our Republic still worked within the bounds of the Constitution and if we were still, "One Nation Under God", I would think nothing unusual about Homeland Security's activities, etc.
    However, none of the above is any longer true, so I suspect "Evil's" plans are well under way to bring about the same circumstances that created Nazi Germany and led to the Second World War.
    We need God's help and guidance in America now, more than at any other time in our history.
  • uguess 2011/12/21 21:09:15
    Yes
    uguess
    +1
    OBAMA BREAKS HIS OATH OF OFFICE and THE PRESIDENCY BY TRYING TO KILL THE CONSTITUTION ! AND ENSLAVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE !! THE ONLY TRUE BIPARTISAN THING IN OUR GOVERNMENT, IS THAT (DEM/REPUB ) THEY ARE SYNDICATED EVIL PSYCHOPATHS, HELL BENT ON ENSLAVING US ALL, UNDER THE NWO ! FACT NOT TIN FOIL CRAZINESS. JUST COLD HARD FACTS THAT ARE SO SCARY, THAT ITS RIGHT UP THERE WITH THE END OF THE WORLD EVIL !!





    THE EVIL ONE AND HIS DEMONS !
    666
  • Striker 2011/12/21 18:09:49
    Yes
    Striker
    +2
    It's getting scarier and scarier out there. Now FedGov seeks to make the Police become dependents when we need them and Sheriffs to be more independent. Woe is us!
  • Sheila 2011/12/21 18:02:13 (edited)
    Yes
    Sheila
    +2
    Using a 154 million dollar drone against a family is pretty out there.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ne...

    I do question a certain part of the story. If the place is a "compound" how did the cows wander in?? But the fact that the drone was used is certain.

    As to the actual question YES we are losing the freedoms we have taken for granted for too long. Taking things for granted usually does ensure their loss.
  • CUDDLY BUT STILL CRABBY 2011/12/21 17:53:37 (edited)
    Undecided
    CUDDLY BUT STILL CRABBY
    +4
    With a wide open USA border to the South and a POTUS and administration that refuses to obey not only the Constitution but the rule of law as well, anything is possible even in Fargo ND.

    Fargo lacks two common denominators that contribute to murder and mayhem. Warmer weather and a sizable population of low-income, generational welfare crowds that IMHO the latter makes up a large percentage of criminals.

    Maybe I'm completely off-base with this comment. Maybe not.

    In any event, the USA is turning into one very large, very well-funded armed police state. Has it gone too far? Time will definitely tell.

    http://www.odmp.org/ Visit the website and pay your respects to those in the law enforcement communities who have given they're all.
  • S. Gompers 2011/12/21 17:52:39
    Yes
    S. Gompers
    +4
    Many of them believe they are at "war" with the people that pay their salary.

See Votes by State

The map above displays the winning answer by region.

News & Politics

2014/09/01 23:29:46

Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions

More Community More Originals