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Have US Police Departments Become Too Militarised?

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  • Have US Police Departments Become Too Militarised?

    I can't answer that question because I don't live in the US but judging by the recent visual media reports it would appear that they certainly have a lot of military hardware at their disposal.

    The following news report from the BBC raised the question,

    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-55845764

  • #2
    The question should be: Have the relaxing of laws and lack of prosecution created the need for LE to require “military” equipment to survive...
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JohnKelly View Post
      I can't answer that question because I don't live in the US but judging by the recent visual media reports it would appear that they certainly have a lot of military hardware at their disposal.

      The following news report from the BBC raised the question,

      https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-55845764
      That's not a news report- it's a propaganda piece.

      The whole "President Bush bad, Barack Hussein good" thing should have been a clue.

      U.S. law enforcement agencies do not get "heavy artillery" from the military.

      The "grenade launchers" that are referenced, are not used to randomly launch fragmentation grenades at nuns and small children- they are used to launch less-lethal munitions like OC, CS, and various rubber munitions, as a kinder, gentler alternative to shooting a felon dead.

      And armor is defensive, not offensive.

      When my wife and I were in Belfast Northern Ireland, we saw police doing routine patrol with machineguns, in armored vehicles, wearing rifle armor and ballistic helmets. We were told that there are more British soldiers in Belfast, than there are in the entire Middle East.

      Plank/eye...
      Last edited by Aidokea; 02-01-2021, 08:07 AM.

      Comment


      • ZeroMood
        ZeroMood commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm glad someone knows what they're talking about. All it takes is a slight amount of research to figure out that Law Enforcement are having to keep up with the times in terms of weaponry and defense.

    • #4
      I appreciate your understanding of not understanding. In the US, average citizens carry assault rifles. This doesn’t mean however that I keep my rifle slung around my chest all day, but I do have it locked in my patrol car. Our “grenade launchers” are not grenade launchers, they are used for less lethal munitions, they are also quite thin and if you put an actual High explosive round in there you’ll kill your self as it’s not thick enough to handle it. The news media is literally attacking police from every angle. In my Conservative state one station does a new investigative piece every week on the cops, its straight propaganda. This last piece had 5 cops out of thousands misuse their police information for the quarter, most for stupid things like running their own license plate. The news turned this into yet another hit piece. Are there reforms that need to be made, of course. But using less military equipment isn’t one of them. We’re not running around with machine guns in the back of a pick up truck like our neighbors to the south, but don’t get me wrong those guys absolutely need it to deal with the cartels.

      Comment


      • #5
        militarization.png

        This photo was taken in the 1920's in Boston, prior to a protest. That's not a military member, that's a Boston Police Sergeant. The police have always been somewhat "militarized" as policing has a para-military structure. If you looked at a police officer's and a military officer's uniform back then, they appear very similar.
        Play stupid games and win stupid prizes. An all expenses paid trip with travel, meals, and accommodations included!

        Comment


        • #6
          ^^^^ so based on the above photo, maybe we can change our hypothesis to say “US Police adapt to their environment”. I have no doubt they needed heavy weaponry during prohibition. Since I’m a combat vet I can tell you police and soldiers have two different missions so different tools are needed. One thing is for sure however, they both deal with bad people and need to plan for the worst.

          Thats not to say our European counter parts don’t because they do. But I’d also ask you to look closer because the US is made up of 50 states with different laws and philosophies. Ive seen French police armed to the teeth, but London cops with nothing more than a billy club. Apples to oranges.
          Last edited by Hopeful_vet; 02-01-2021, 10:23 PM.

          Comment


          • #7
            Those outside the US often have a hard time understanding how different police agencies can be from each other -- not just state-to-state, but often city-to-city.

            In the US, there are officers, deputies, troopers, marshals, constables, agents, wardens, and others I'm probably overlooking, all with full police powers. There are police agencies at the federal (country), state, county, and city level. Each agency has its own mission and operates, for the most part, independent of the others. They all have their own policies their staff are expected to follow, which includes what kind of body armor is required or allowed.

            My agency, for instance, only recently began allowing officers to wear external body armor vests. One thing that held it up for so long was finding a style that did not appear 'too military'. Once a style was approved, another debate ensued over what we were allowed to carry attached to the vest. Flashlight? OK. Body camera? OK. Folding knife? Nope, too military/intimidating. Rifle magazines, OC spray, expandable batons...all were non-starters.

            Some in our department made a run at getting radios approved for carry on the vests. The interest was officer wellness -- the fewer bulky items we have on our duty belts, the better it is for our backs, long-term. Denied..."too military".

            So the answer in my department's case is, no, we haven't become too military.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by orangebottle View Post
              Those outside the US often have a hard time understanding how different police agencies can be from each other -- not just state-to-state, but often city-to-city.

              In the US, there are officers, deputies, troopers, marshals, constables, agents, wardens, and others I'm probably overlooking, all with full police powers. There are police agencies at the federal (country), state, county, and city level. Each agency has its own mission and operates, for the most part, independent of the others. They all have their own policies their staff are expected to follow, which includes what kind of body armor is required or allowed.

              My agency, for instance, only recently began allowing officers to wear external body armor vests. One thing that held it up for so long was finding a style that did not appear 'too military'. Once a style was approved, another debate ensued over what we were allowed to carry attached to the vest. Flashlight? OK. Body camera? OK. Folding knife? Nope, too military/intimidating. Rifle magazines, OC spray, expandable batons...all were non-starters.

              Some in our department made a run at getting radios approved for carry on the vests. The interest was officer wellness -- the fewer bulky items we have on our duty belts, the better it is for our backs, long-term. Denied..."too military".

              So the answer in my department's case is, no, we haven't become too military.
              Yes, Australia has one police force for each State with one Federal Police Force that only has jurisdiction over federal matters and so very much different to that in the US and Canada..

              The other thing that makes Australia different is that there are no Reserve Police Volunteers.

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Aidokea View Post

                That's not a news report- it's a propaganda piece.

                The whole "President Bush bad, Barack Hussein good" thing should have been a clue.

                U.S. law enforcement agencies do not get "heavy artillery" from the military.

                The "grenade launchers" that are referenced, are not used to randomly launch fragmentation grenades at nuns and small children- they are used to launch less-lethal munitions like OC, CS, and various rubber munitions, as a kinder, gentler alternative to shooting a felon dead.

                And armor is defensive, not offensive.

                When my wife and I were in Belfast Northern Ireland, we saw police doing routine patrol with machineguns, in armored vehicles, wearing rifle armor and ballistic helmets. We were told that there are more British soldiers in Belfast, than there are in the entire Middle East.

                Plank/eye...
                How did you enjoy your time in Belfast, I know it well.

                Northern Ireland was subject to a 30 year Civil War, locally referred to as The Troubles, over 3,500 people were killed including many police officers who were specifically targetted whether on or off duty.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by JohnKelly View Post

                  How did you enjoy your time in Belfast, I know it well.

                  Northern Ireland was subject to a 30 year Civil War, locally referred to as The Troubles, over 3,500 people were killed including many police officers who were specifically targetted whether on or off duty.
                  Yes, we are familiar with The Troubles.

                  We took a cab tour that covered Shankill Road and Springfield Road. The murals and memorials were really something. The cab driver had us stop and autograph the wall dividing the Catholic and Protestant sides of the city. During dalight hours, of course, when the gates in the wall were open.

                  We really enjoyed getting a snug at the Crown Liquor Saloon and sipping pints of Guinness and cider.
                  Last edited by Aidokea; 02-02-2021, 06:37 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Hopeful_vet View Post
                    Thats not to say our European counter parts don’t because they do. But I’d also ask you to look closer because the US is made up of 50 states with different laws and philosophies. Ive seen French police armed to the teeth, but London cops with nothing more than a billy club. Apples to oranges.
                    I can't comment on whether US officers are overly militarised because, like The King says, I've never walked a mile in that man's shoes. However, speaking from a British perspective, it is a familiar debate. Every attempt to equip officers with more practical equipment has met with opposition. Until the end of the 1980's, officers were still in tunics and your appointments (equipment) comprised a wooden truncheon (billyclub) a whistle and a pocketbook (handcuffs tended to be pool items rather than personal issue). I joined the Police at the turn of the millennium and It would be several years before I had a personal issue radio (again, pool issue and bad luck if the last one had a defective battery). Some of the arguments were, frankly, ludicrous. Speedcuffs/rigid cuffs were opposed because they might be mistaken for a gun (had any of these people seen a gun?) The PR-24 did very well in trials to replace the truncheon, beating (see what I did there?) extendible batons/ASP's and longer polymer straight sticks in trials. Then certain events occurred in Los Angeles in 1991 and they were out; "too American". To be completely truthful (and i apologise for this) a great deal of opposition to new equipment has been because it was perceived as "too American". Oddly, there doesn't seem to be any equivalent perception that comments of this nature (and they were/are openly stated) are both xenophobic and border-line racist. Overt body armour snuck through with barely a whimper (odd that this seems to be a cause of concern in the US) but we still have to endure the ridiculous Custodian aka Bobby helmet for the sake of tradition (not that I've had to wear one for many years but it offers virtually no protection and falls off at the slightest sign of trouble). The Metropolitan Police, Britain's largest force, still have their uniformed officers wearing ties (are we attending a business meeting?) or cravats (are we Regency dandies?)

                    And ultimately for what? Round my way, front-line uniformed officers will certainly have rigid handcuffs, extendible batons, incapacitant spray and (probably) Taser worn in a black Tac vest over black body armour. Firearms officers have immediate access to semi-automatic pistols, carbines and baton guns. All are supposed to alienate the public, but it appears the public don't give a monkey's; if you don't like the Police, you don't like the Police and it matters little if the officer is wearing speedos or an Iron Man suit. As mentioned, this is a familiar debate and it is forgotten that the immediate predecessor to the modern British bobby carried swords and pistols. British bobbies were, from the outset, able to draw swords (cutlasses in fact) in riot situations and historically, right into the twentieth century, if a British police officer was on night duty in a remote area, he could draw a pistol from the armoury. Shocking, I know.

                    I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Marcell
                      It depends on what you define as "Militarised", and what are you referring to. Are you referring to generally the Police Department? It sub divisions, such as the Special Weapons and Tactics Team?

                      You really have to specify. From a citizen whom is the age of 15 standpoint of the United States of America, Who frequently watch programming on the television and via the Youtube platform, personally, fundamentally some Police Department really only have "Extreme" weaponry in some of y'all perspective, but besides that, I don't know.
                      This from a 15 year old who lives in Maryland..?
                      Troll.
                      Now go home and get your shine box!

                      Comment


                      • Aidokea
                        Aidokea commented
                        Editing a comment
                        It appears that "Marcell" has met the ban hammer...

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