American police: Too militarized?

Posted by gamerguru100 (10585 posts) 2 months, 16 hours ago

Poll: American police: Too militarized? (32 votes)

Yes 66%
No 34%

Here's three links to articles regarding the militarization of the police.

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

This shit is scary.

#1 Posted by Doozie78 (224 posts) -

The federalization of our police force might seem like a good thing to some but I think it's a far too slippery slope that is leaving all of the people in a dangerous position. I'm not a supporter of militarization, it's wholly necessary.

#2 Posted by LJS9502_basic (150727 posts) -

Eh...I looked at your first link. Either the police need to have a strong presence there or you need the National Guard. It's a mess.

#3 Posted by leif3141 (117 posts) -

I didn't look at your links, but no. Give me a situation where the equipment in question (such as the armored vehicles, or whatever military equipment is given) has been used to slaughter citizens. I remember they used batons against a black man and that's what sparked outrage before. So clubs. Weapons since the dawn of man.

#4 Edited by Stevo_the_gamer (42718 posts) -

So much fear mongering, and political pandering. It's not a "bad" thing to have Law Enforcement better equipped to handle active shootings, disasters, and large scale rioting. These "military style" rifles have been in our ranks since the damn 90s after the Hollywood Shootout, which sadly showcased why our 870s and handguns don't do crap against armored individuals carrying assault rifles.

Secondly, the crying about the armored vehicles... they can save lives by going into active shooter situations and provide cover for wounded individuals and be used to extract personnel. They can also move through flooded areas and provide support in disaster areas or heavy wind/hurricane disaster. No, they do not carry a .50 cal on the top or any sort of mk. 19.

Lastly, the crying about using more and more SWAT raid per year than before. SWAT has received better training and better equipment, and thus are better apt to handle search warrants and arrest warrants in houses/apartments etc. When Deputies used to do it, and while we still do do it, it's a hell of a lot safer to have the veteran personnel kick down the door and enter. But of course, using the team best apt to handle the job is now a "bad thing" because "they look scary."

It's like a bunch of whiny teenagers crying over things they do not understand. I do not tell doctors what equipment they need, or what training they should have or how to do their job. Same goes for firemen, and the military. Why? Because I'm not part of any of those careers, so I hold my tongue on things that are not in my forte.

#5 Posted by airshocker (29407 posts) -

I'm kind of torn on this issue. On one hand we have a clear problem where Police aren't understanding the ramifications of responding to relatively trivial incidents decked out in full battle rattle while riding in MRAPS(bearcats) and on the other we know there is a need for departments have some of this equipment for the "oh shit" scenarios that we can never predict.

I think what's probably best is departments putting together better SOPs with regards to where and when such equipment can be used.

#6 Posted by leif3141 (117 posts) -

I'm kind of torn on this issue. On one hand we have a clear problem where Police aren't understanding the ramifications of responding to relatively trivial incidents decked out in full battle rattle while riding in MRAPS(bearcats) and on the other we know there is a need for departments have some of this equipment for the "oh shit" scenarios that we can never predict.

I think what's probably best is departments putting together better SOPs with regards to where and when such equipment can be used.

This sounds pretty good to me. There is a need for it, but most of the police abuses I have heard of didn't really rely on this type of equipment. It's been clubs, pistols, fists, etc. All pretty standard police equipment. Maybe a focus on better discipline in police academies. I don't know what its like completely but I have gone through military training and work customer service, so I have extensive levels of restraint :)

#7 Posted by airshocker (29407 posts) -

@leif3141 said:

@airshocker said:

I'm kind of torn on this issue. On one hand we have a clear problem where Police aren't understanding the ramifications of responding to relatively trivial incidents decked out in full battle rattle while riding in MRAPS(bearcats) and on the other we know there is a need for departments have some of this equipment for the "oh shit" scenarios that we can never predict.

I think what's probably best is departments putting together better SOPs with regards to where and when such equipment can be used.

This sounds pretty good to me. There is a need for it, but most of the police abuses I have heard of didn't really rely on this type of equipment. It's been clubs, pistols, fists, etc. All pretty standard police equipment. Maybe a focus on better discipline in police academies. I don't know what its like completely but I have gone through military training and work customer service, so I have extensive levels of restraint :)

The only training I received on this type of hardware came from the military. The Police then gave us extra training, but it was pretty slapdash.

Standards need to be created first, then we can focus on training.

#8 Posted by SaintLeonidas (26170 posts) -

When you have soldiers commenting on how police officers have more gear in Ferguson than they did in Iraq then you know there is a problem. We've literally gotten to a point in which police look exactly like all the once "fictional" depictions of them in films/games with totalitarian themes. I personally think it is completely unnecessary; and the Ferguson PD certainly didn't help the case for the upgrades - they did not seem to actually know how to handle some of these weapons (pointing loaded rifles at unarmed individuals is a huge no no).

#9 Posted by airshocker (29407 posts) -

When you have soldiers commenting on how police officers have more gear in Ferguson than they did in Iraq then you know there is a problem. We've literally gotten to a point in which police look exactly like all the once "fictional" depictions of them in films/games with totalitarian themes. I personally think it is completely unnecessary; and the Ferguson PD certainly didn't help the case for the upgrades - they did not seem to actually know how to handle some of these weapons (pointing loaded rifles at unarmed individuals is a huge no no).

I had better gear in Iraq than the guys in Ferguson have. Usually service members who served after the initial war in Iraq(2006+) had better gear than the guys who served before them.

#10 Posted by leif3141 (117 posts) -

When you have soldiers commenting on how police officers have more gear in Ferguson than they did in Iraq then you know there is a problem. We've literally gotten to a point in which police look exactly like all the once "fictional" depictions of them in films/games with totalitarian themes. I personally think it is completely unnecessary; and the Ferguson PD certainly didn't help the case for the upgrades - they did not seem to actually know how to handle some of these weapons (pointing loaded rifles at unarmed individuals is a huge no no).

They wore armor. Seems more defensive rather than offensive. They used tear gas. Pretty standard procedure for mobs of unruly people. They had EBRs (evil black rifles). How many people were shot by them? To be honest- I don't even know that last one myself, but I bet it was a low amount, if any.

#11 Edited by Aljosa23 (24851 posts) -

I don't have a problem with the police having better equipment, my issue is more about them using it incorrectly. During Ferguson a lot of the cops were aiming their guns at protesters without the intent to shoot and that is a huge no. Whether it's a training or discipline problem remains to be seen but I don't see the issue with better equipment as long as the ones wielding it have proper training and obey protocol.

#12 Edited by Treflis (11523 posts) -

From my point of view, I'd say yes.

Then again I'm Norwegian and In the rare cases Police are required to arm themselves here it's either handled by "SWAT" or they got kevlar vests on and carry MP5's, Wouldn't call that militarized so my point of view might be a little biased because of this.

#13 Posted by farrell2k (5861 posts) -

Not surprising. Despite gun owners extolling the virtues of gun ownership, it has done nothing but made our country the most dangerous first world country on the planet. 300,000,000 guns and the police are put into a position where every moron walking in public could potentially be carrying a gun, and any one of them could simply pull one out and start firing for no reason other than they just felt like doing it! Add to that the fact that we have nearly half the country's "conservatives", whatever that means these days, running around telling everyone that the "bad guys" are right around the corner and hiding in every shadow, and you breed a culture of irrational paranoia where people feel that they have to have a loaded weapon on them to be safe buying a carton of milk. Can you really blame the police? I certainly can't.

#14 Posted by hippiesanta (9841 posts) -

no .... american police are still nicer compare to police from 3rd world country ... who is behaving like a government henchmen and taking bribe .. and taking orders by higer authoritah to perform execution.

#15 Edited by fueled-system (6276 posts) -

Remember that California Bank Robbery in the 90's? All that needs to be said to discredit this(if only I remembered when exactly it was)

#16 Edited by leif3141 (117 posts) -

@farrell2k said:

Not surprising. Despite gun owners extolling the virtues of gun ownership, it has done nothing but made our country the most dangerous first world country on the planet. 300,000,000 guns and the police are put into a position where every moron walking in public could potentially be carrying a gun, and any one of them could simply pull one out and start firing for no reason other than they just felt like doing it! Add to that the fact that we have nearly half the country's "conservatives", whatever that means these days, running around telling everyone that the "bad guys" are right around the corner and hiding in every shadow, and you breed a culture of irrational paranoia where people feel that they have to have a loaded weapon on them to be safe buying a carton of milk. Can you really blame the police? I certainly can't.

While you do have somewhat of a point (the over sized amount of fear we are given on a daily basis, and the open carry movement being a little over the top), you ruin it by being a little too hyperbolic.

#17 Posted by airshocker (29407 posts) -

Not surprising. Despite gun owners extolling the virtues of gun ownership, it has done nothing but made our country the most dangerous first world country on the planet. 300,000,000 guns and the police are put into a position where every moron walking in public could potentially be carrying a gun, and any one of them could simply pull one out and start firing for no reason other than they just felt like doing it! Add to that the fact that we have nearly half the country's "conservatives", whatever that means these days, running around telling everyone that the "bad guys" are right around the corner and hiding in every shadow, and you breed a culture of irrational paranoia where people feel that they have to have a loaded weapon on them to be safe buying a carton of milk. Can you really blame the police? I certainly can't.

Gets stomped in gun control thread, proceeds to talk about gun control in another thread. 0/10.

#18 Posted by farrell2k (5861 posts) -

@farrell2k said:

Not surprising. Despite gun owners extolling the virtues of gun ownership, it has done nothing but made our country the most dangerous first world country on the planet. 300,000,000 guns and the police are put into a position where every moron walking in public could potentially be carrying a gun, and any one of them could simply pull one out and start firing for no reason other than they just felt like doing it! Add to that the fact that we have nearly half the country's "conservatives", whatever that means these days, running around telling everyone that the "bad guys" are right around the corner and hiding in every shadow, and you breed a culture of irrational paranoia where people feel that they have to have a loaded weapon on them to be safe buying a carton of milk. Can you really blame the police? I certainly can't.

Gets stomped in gun control thread, proceeds to talk about gun control in another thread. 0/10.

Ah, I see you're still butthurt because I pointed out the fact that you argue with logical fallacies. HAHA. It's O.K. You will learn.

#19 Posted by gcfreak898 (1754 posts) -

Thank god for the second amendment and my chl permit. I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. :-) I go to the range regularly.

#20 Posted by farrell2k (5861 posts) -

no .... american police are still nicer compare to police from 3rd world country ... who is behaving like a government henchmen and taking bribe .. and taking orders by higer authoritah to perform execution.

Yeah, but America is not a third world country, so the comparison is invalid.

#21 Posted by airshocker (29407 posts) -

@airshocker said:

@farrell2k said:

Not surprising. Despite gun owners extolling the virtues of gun ownership, it has done nothing but made our country the most dangerous first world country on the planet. 300,000,000 guns and the police are put into a position where every moron walking in public could potentially be carrying a gun, and any one of them could simply pull one out and start firing for no reason other than they just felt like doing it! Add to that the fact that we have nearly half the country's "conservatives", whatever that means these days, running around telling everyone that the "bad guys" are right around the corner and hiding in every shadow, and you breed a culture of irrational paranoia where people feel that they have to have a loaded weapon on them to be safe buying a carton of milk. Can you really blame the police? I certainly can't.

Gets stomped in gun control thread, proceeds to talk about gun control in another thread. 0/10.

Ah, I see you're still butthurt because I pointed out the fact that you argue with logical fallacies. HAHA. It's O.K. You will learn.

You haven't pointed out anything. I can also say you've been using logical fallacies. That's meaningless until I actually show you what's fallacious about them.

#22 Posted by farrell2k (5861 posts) -

@farrell2k said:

@airshocker said:

@farrell2k said:

Not surprising. Despite gun owners extolling the virtues of gun ownership, it has done nothing but made our country the most dangerous first world country on the planet. 300,000,000 guns and the police are put into a position where every moron walking in public could potentially be carrying a gun, and any one of them could simply pull one out and start firing for no reason other than they just felt like doing it! Add to that the fact that we have nearly half the country's "conservatives", whatever that means these days, running around telling everyone that the "bad guys" are right around the corner and hiding in every shadow, and you breed a culture of irrational paranoia where people feel that they have to have a loaded weapon on them to be safe buying a carton of milk. Can you really blame the police? I certainly can't.

Gets stomped in gun control thread, proceeds to talk about gun control in another thread. 0/10.

Ah, I see you're still butthurt because I pointed out the fact that you argue with logical fallacies. HAHA. It's O.K. You will learn.

You haven't pointed out anything. I can also say you've been using logical fallacies. That's meaningless until I actually show you what's fallacious about them.

This was already explained to you by multiple people. You just refuse to see it, now stop trying to derail this thread.

#23 Posted by airshocker (29407 posts) -

@airshocker said:

@farrell2k said:

@airshocker said:

@farrell2k said:

Not surprising. Despite gun owners extolling the virtues of gun ownership, it has done nothing but made our country the most dangerous first world country on the planet. 300,000,000 guns and the police are put into a position where every moron walking in public could potentially be carrying a gun, and any one of them could simply pull one out and start firing for no reason other than they just felt like doing it! Add to that the fact that we have nearly half the country's "conservatives", whatever that means these days, running around telling everyone that the "bad guys" are right around the corner and hiding in every shadow, and you breed a culture of irrational paranoia where people feel that they have to have a loaded weapon on them to be safe buying a carton of milk. Can you really blame the police? I certainly can't.

Gets stomped in gun control thread, proceeds to talk about gun control in another thread. 0/10.

Ah, I see you're still butthurt because I pointed out the fact that you argue with logical fallacies. HAHA. It's O.K. You will learn.

You haven't pointed out anything. I can also say you've been using logical fallacies. That's meaningless until I actually show you what's fallacious about them.

This was already explained to you by multiple people. You just refuse to see it, now stop trying to derail this thread.

No, it hasn't. I'll continue to call you out when it's appropriate, thanks.

#24 Posted by gamerguru100 (10585 posts) -

I'd like to say that it's really sad that police in Ferguson are aiming loaded rifles at people. One of the articles was saying you can't gain the trust of people by aiming guns at them, which I find hard to disagree with. Aren't these guys supposed to be trained? Common sense alone says you don't aim a gun at a target unless you're planning on shooting it. What if a guy doing this gets startled or distracted and accidentally discharges his weapon? Boy, that will really put the fuck in clusterfuck.

#25 Posted by PannicAtack (21021 posts) -

SWAT teams are a good idea when you have crazed gunmen with hostages.

SWAT teams are a bad idea when you're busting some twenty-somethings for pot.

#26 Edited by GeekInkINC (195 posts) -

Courtesy of Business Insider

Those numbers are from 2011. I'd say we need to make our cops more accountable for not being prepared for their jobs because other places are doing a better job at it, a WAY freaking better job.

#27 Edited by lamprey263 (23550 posts) -

Yes, and just to make a point, even if cosmetically the police appear militarized with their tanks, their body armor, their militarized style rifles, etc, imagine what that can do to their psychology, their mindset, and their behavior from that point onward...

#28 Edited by leif3141 (117 posts) -

@geekinkinc said:

Courtesy of Business Insider

Those numbers are from 2011. I'd say we need to make our cops more accountable for not being prepared for their jobs because other places are doing a better job at it, a WAY freaking better job.

That is a BS comparison and you know it. If the person is armed with a gun, police really have no choice but to shoot said person. Only in America out of those 4 countries do most criminals have guns (this isn't a debate about gun control, but the reality is criminals do have easier access to them here than the other countries you listed). If someone has a bat/knife, you can just taser or pepper spray them.

#29 Edited by leif3141 (117 posts) -

@lamprey263 said:

Yes, and just to make a point, even if cosmetically the police appear militarized with their tanks, their body armor, their militarized style rifles, etc, imagine what that can do to their psychology, their mindset, and their behavior from that point onward...

The stanford prison experiment wasn't about equipment being used. It was about guard/inmate mentality. So by that logic, we shouldn't have police simply because they will get full of themselves? He took regular joes and suddenly infused some of them with control. They had no experience with that much control. Hypothetically, police are given training to avoid letting it get to their head. Does it always work? No, but I don't think body armor is suddenly going to boost thee control feeling to an unmanageable level.

#30 Posted by foxhound_fox (88068 posts) -

The militarization isn't an issue per se, because police forces need equalizing or bettering equipment than criminals... who get their hands on armour piercing weapons, body armour, projectile explosives, etc all the time.

What the problem is in the US, I think, is the poor hiring standards of many local law enforcement entities, who don't weed out the ego-maniacs who join solely to lord their power and authority over other individuals. No police force is immune to these types of people (as they tend to be manipulative and can squeak by the testing) but they can surely be far more transparent when it comes to dealing with internal issues that these people create (i.e. don't make it look like they are covering it up).

It's a lack of community involvement that is causing people's hatred for the police. Here in Winnipeg, the police take part in community events (i.e. charities and fundraising) and have the philosophy of "building relationships". There is the odd person with an ego-complex that takes some things too far, but oh shit are they accountable for their actions. All one needs to do is ask for a supervisor and they get their ass handed to them (if they are in fact at fault or overstepping their authority... one needs to be aware of what the police are allowed to do before attempting this).

#31 Edited by SambaLele (5359 posts) -

Of course it's not an issue. The issue is trainning, education, transparency, oversight, community involvement and liability on the eventual excessive/unnecessary use of force by the police. If the police is used as a means to avoid public manifestation, for political objectives, etc., it will do so even if badly equipped. One of the major signs of this happening is when the unnecessary use of force goes unpunished. This is the real issue.

#32 Edited by LJS9502_basic (150727 posts) -

@leif3141: Yes just looking at stats does nothing to assess culpability.

#33 Edited by l34052 (3166 posts) -

@hippiesanta said:

american police are still nicer compare to police from 3rd world country ... who is behaving like a government henchmen and taking bribe .. and taking orders by higer authoritah to perform execution.

this sounds very much like the american police to me, fuck 'em

#34 Posted by LJS9502_basic (150727 posts) -
@l34052 said:

@hippiesanta said:

american police are still nicer compare to police from 3rd world country ... who is behaving like a government henchmen and taking bribe .. and taking orders by higer authoritah to perform execution.

this sounds very much like the american police to me, fuck 'em

Hmm....well then I suggest you try living in some of those other countries and then come back and talk.

#35 Edited by thebest31406 (3360 posts) -

Of course it's militarized but what's worse is that everyday Americans are the targets of their paramilitary endeavors.

There are an estimated 45,000 SWAT raids every year. That means this sort of violent, paramilitary raid is happening in about 124 homes every day – or more likely every night – not in an overseas combat zone, but here in American neighborhoods. The police, who are supposed to serve and protect communities, are instead waging war on the people who live in them.

Our new report, War at Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, takes a hard look at 800 of these raids – or at least what state and local law enforcement agencies are willing to tell us about them. We found that almost 80% of SWAT raids are to search homes, usually for drugs, and disproportionately, in communities of color. During these drug searches, at least 10 officers often piled into armored personnel carriers. They forced their way into people's homes using military equipment like battering rams 60 percent of the time. And they were 14 times more likely to deploy flashbang grenades than during SWAT raids for other purposes.

Another Day, Another 124 Violent SWAT Raids

#36 Posted by hippiesanta (9841 posts) -

@l34052 said:

@hippiesanta said:

american police are still nicer compare to police from 3rd world country ... who is behaving like a government henchmen and taking bribe .. and taking orders by higer authoritah to perform execution.

this sounds very much like the american police to me, fuck 'em

you know nothing Jon Snow

#37 Posted by doejack202 (6 posts) -

@SambaLele:

Of course it's not an issue. The issue is trainning, education, transparency, oversight, community involvement and liability on the eventual excessive/unnecessary use of force by the police. If the police is used as a means to avoid public manifestation, for political objectives, etc., it will do so even if badly equipped. One of the major signs of this happening is when the unnecessary use of force goes unpunished. This is the real issue.

I would have to disagree with you when you say that the issue is in training, oversight, and community involvement. With the sheer number of hours police officers spend in training, I feel as though the training isn’t the real issue. With the average length of a police academy being over 750 hours in classroom and over 450 hours of field training according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, we can’t blame everything on a lack of training.

You also mentioned that community involvement was part of the issue, but community policing is used in a substantial number of departments which employ about 82% of the nation’s police officers. These values are also from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. I feel like this number still should be higher, but we can’t blame the lack of community involvement as the main issue behind unnecessary force, especially in larger cities where, even if community policing is in place, police officers still may not know the citizens they are involved with.

Another bit of information that I think is also important to consider, since you said that the lack of oversight is an issue, is the fact that complaints are sustained more often in cities without citizens review boards according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. I believe that Citizen oversight is important, but I don’t think it will have the effect that most people think it will.

I do agree that the biggest issue is the lack of consequences for officers who use excessive force. It’s very difficult to judge guilt or innocence in these cases when there are two conflicting stories which are probably both not entirely true, but I think it is definitely become more and more unbiased with the advancements in recording technology and body cameras that have come out in the past decade.