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  • The (so-called) militarization of the police

    Hey all - I'm growing very tired of the pinheads on BOTH sides, and especially the right-wing fringe, which cries about the (so-called) "militarization of the police".

    I'm trying to come up with arguments regarding it. I need some help.

    First, can anyone with a history of military service AND/OR police SWAT work tell me when you were aware of knee/elbow pads in either line of work?

    Also need to know if anyone had an experience that when they left the military and entered LE they found that their police agency was more tactical than the service they left behind.

    I'm trying to find out, if SWAT type police work changed the way the military does things, rather than the other way around.
    "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

    Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

    Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

  • #2
    Why do police need to be more tactical? We can start with the below incident and see how assaults against police have evolved.

    http://www.military.com/video/law-en...1967118628001/
    I’ll die with blue in my veins.

    Comment


    • #3
      Kieth-

      Is this in response to a few recent articles in American Cop Magazine? If so I've been itching to "fire off" a response.

      ***

      As far as tactical knee pads, the only time I wore them publicly was in Iraq in '06-07. My reason wasnt a tactical fashion statement, but more a matter of comfort. After 7 or 8 hours on a machine gun mounted in a window, with nowhere to sit, I usually had to take a knee to rest my aching feet.

      I still have them in my foot locker, and have worn them in my basement when I set down my tile floor. Not quite a tactical application, but a comfortable one.
      I make my living on Irish welfare.

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      • #4
        It must be true, used to be you only saw knee pads on prospective promotees......
        Today's Quote:

        "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
        Albert Einstein

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        • #5
          I don't see it as "militarization," just as being better prepared for when the SHTF. (And we know that's not if the SHTF, but when.)

          Hell, even before the North Hollywood shootout:
          At the time of the shootings, the Austin Police Department had no specialized tactical unit to deploy in response to reports of a sniper. Officers were equipped with revolvers and shotguns, which were ineffective against a sniper; some went home to get their own rifles. In addition, officers had few radios, and the city's phone system was overwhelmed. The shootings subsequently helped cause other departments across America to form SWAT teams. The Los Angeles Police Department's SWAT team, formed just after the Whitman incident, in turn inspired many other departments to form similar groups after its usage against the Black Panthers in 1969 and the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1973.
          Many of you will know by the mention of Austin what I'm referring to; the date of that was August 1, 1966. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Whitman#Aftermath>

          Point bein', why be scrambling around trying to borrow rifles, ammunition, and people who have had plenty of practice with same? Far better to send properly equipped officers in, and limit or totally prevent innocent casualties by dominating the situation. "Peace through superior firepower" and all that.
          That's not "militarization;" that's just common sense. Innocent civilians and the good guys go home afterward. Bad guys go to jail, the hospital, or the morgue. Don't let it drag on for four days like in Mumbai.

          About MRAPs and such: Maybe they're not useful in every situation (limited mobility in some places), and fuel consumption/costs to convert them can be drawbacks, but it's one of those things that you don't want to "need it but not have it."
          Since becoming available in the summer of 2013, 165 MRAP vehicles had been acquired by police and sheriff’s departments. The American Civil Liberties Union has concerns of "increasing militarization of the nation’s police," and that the military hardware could escalate violent situations.
          Right; Normie Nutcase wouldn't have shot up the neighborhood if you hadn't brought that armored car in here. He was just trying to scare people. And see if his rifle was loaded or not.

          Police have rejected the notion of militarization and maintain that an MRAP would be an addition to their inventory to be prepared for any situation, with the main purpose of protecting occupants. Police in Boise, Idaho used their vehicles to serve a warrant to a suspect that was thought to be armed, and was found with two guns and 100 lb (45 kg) of explosive material. One was placed in front of officers to protect from a possible explosion.
          Yeah, that.
          (The two quoted sections above are from here.)
          Last edited by RR_Security; 06-18-2014, 11:41 PM.
          --
          Capital Punishment means never having to say "you again?"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kieth M. View Post
            I'm trying to find out, if SWAT type police work changed the way the military does things, rather than the other way around.
            Urban operations in the military were definitely changed based on tactics and techniques developed by police. During WWII and up into Vietnam, clearing houses generally consisted of blasting with recoilless rifles/tanks, throwing in grenades, and shooting them through with rifles. Once the military wanted to learn to clear an urban area without high levels of non-combatant casualties, they looked at the training police departments like LA, Philly, and NYC were doing.

            Some further info, the Thompson submachine gun was picked up by the Military only after it had nearly 20 years of proven service by police. The first armored cars were also used by police during prohibition, long before the military was even relying on vehicles.

            The reason we are seeing some of the evolution of equipment in the law enforcement field is because now companies can make money off of it. Prior to the war on terror, there wasn't a huge market for a lot of the tactical gear around now. Once war money was flowing, everyone with a good idea for a tactical product could market it to the government and have money shot at them out of a cannon. Once the products were developed, it didn't take much to change the color from tan to blue/black/green.
            Last edited by LandGuppy; 06-19-2014, 12:18 AM.

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            • #7
              The "militarization" of LE has gone both ways as I know of at least one military unit that has trained with a West Coast PD for certain things & the military recipricated. This isn't necessisarily a bad thing as some may think. I started my careeer just as SWAT was becoming popular so I like think I've seen quite a bit of progress. To be specific, the modern, non-SWAT type equipment has actually been around for awhile & was used by basic Patrolmen loong before SWAT adopted it. So too, the SWAT gear has proven VERY helpful in patrol work & I think of plenty of situations SWAT gear or tactics made my job easier. Lately we've been learning new First-aid techniques brought in from the military to make our job safer. But I think the OP is asking for an opinion on the "militarization", not necessiarily the equipment.
              In the interest of safety, I won't discuss tactics or equipment but I will ask: What's the problem? Yes, not every cop should be walking around with an M4/AR-15 (not yet anyway) but why should LE be outgunned or out-trained by the bad guys? In the 70s we had VietNam vets returning with basically the same skills as our current returning vets. However back then PTSD, multiple tours (as in 4,5,or even 6) weren't common which put additional stress on them AND what was accepted by the populace wasn't the same. Consequently you had better acceptence of authority(police) and less people apt to physically challenge them.
              Today the average vet has 2, probably more, tours In the MIddle East, has done more building-clearing than most cops & is more than a little frustrated over a variety of things. We (police) therefore have to be better prepared & trained to deal with these people IF they decide to take a criminal "career path". Most don't. However the onus is on the police to find solutions to social problems, not expect the citizenry to blindly submit to authority simply because "WE" say so. Sorry for the "rant" but like the OP, I get a little tired of the finger-pointing at LE telling us what we do wrong, when the fact is we usually REACT to citizen behavior, not actively try to change it.........

              Comment


              • #8
                In regards to the tin-foil hat wearing complaint of APC's and MRAP's being obtained by small PD's, my answer is this...

                Okay, smartest guy in the world, here's your challenge. Tomorrow at noon, you are going to get shot at by a couple crazy people with weapons ranging from 9mm to 7.62X39. I'm going to allow you a choice in what you get to stand behind. Choice number one is this MRAP, number two is this Ford Crown Victoria, third is this Chevy Chimpala, and number four is this upside-down bathtub called the Chevy Caprice, what'll it be?
                Last edited by Kieth M.; 06-19-2014, 11:33 AM.
                "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If militarization means using military-derived equipment and uniforms, it goes back to at least the 1800s. Every officer wearing identical clothes, shiny metal insignia showing position and rank, Sam Browne belts (especially back when they wore a cross strap), Smokey hats, riding boots, long guns for certain situations, military rank and chain of command, pay scale according to rank and seniority, written rules and policies, systematic discipline, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

                  The people complaining about it now have their heads up their ***es so far they have to fart to sneeze.
                  Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                  I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "Militarization of the police" is a meme, "an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation."

                    "Especially imitation". Imitation is a shortcut. Nothing per se wrong with that but imitators usually haven't done the intellectual heavy lifting that produces real understanding. It can be hard to make a point with those folks.

                    This popped up last year on one of the mail lists I subscribe to. I responded that, yeah, I wear a uniform, carry a firearm, and work under a hierarchical command structure but that was nothing new, cops have been doing that since the 1800's. I pointed out that I lived at home with my family, not in a barracks, was on first name terms with my superiors and subordinates, and drove a jumped-up family sedan, not a HUMVEE.

                    "What," I asked the poster, "do you mean by militarized"?

                    Still waiting for a reply.

                    A few months ago a local loon walked down the street shooting a large-caliber, laser-sighted handgun before holing up in his house. SWAT got him out with gas after he didn't respond to talk therapy. Predictably, somebody complained about militarized police in an online comment. I replied that a military response would have been an artillery strike.

                    Knee pads? I've got a nice hardshell pair. They're tacticool black so you'd never know they're actually designed for telemark skiers. I wore them every day, under my pants. Or I did until the chief decided he didn't like 5.11's and switched to a uniform with a more tailored look.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kieth M. View Post
                      Hey all - I'm growing very tired of the pinheads on BOTH sides, and especially the right-wing fringe, which cries about the (so-called) "militarization of the police".

                      I'm trying to come up with arguments regarding it. I need some help.

                      First, can anyone with a history of military service AND/OR police SWAT work tell me when you were aware of knee/elbow pads in either line of work?

                      Also need to know if anyone had an experience that when they left the military and entered LE they found that their police agency was more tactical than the service they left behind.

                      I'm trying to find out, if SWAT type police work changed the way the military does things, rather than the other way around.
                      I think that the best person to answer your question is Alex Jones.
                      Retired

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Knee pads, an issue-----REALLY?!?!?! Don't people here have bigger concerns than what's being worn?
                        To answer the question, I can recall seeing our SAU people wearing them, of their own initiative, in the early 80s. Do you KNOW how hot it gets perched on a roofas a sniper/spotter? My agency is going for a "softer" look thanks to our new Chief so Iwouldn't be surprised if he does away with alot of things........

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The NYPD tactical team(ESU) has been around since the thirties. What they wear has changed but they still had weapons that packed a little more punch than the standard .38. Unless they were copying the doughboys of world war I, I'd say we came up with it om our own. Here are some cool pics.
                          http://www.policeny.com/esdtrucks1.html

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                          • #14
                            I usually just counter with the militarization of civilians. Army/Navy surplus stores lets you get all the tactical gear, including helmets. You can buy a tank if you have the money. You can buy an AR-15 or AK-47, even full auto if you have the cash.
                            I miss you, Dave.
                            http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You know why some people say this- because of the look.
                              Reminds me of part of the Lt.Col. Dave Grossman essay On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdoags :

                              ...the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."

                              Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.


                              http://mwkworks.com/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html

                              Oh, and as for kneepads- they are a hindrance, IMO, to fast movement, and the straps tend to be painful to the back of your knees after a while. My team sometimes trains with them, but never uses them in actual call-outs.
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