Some local police forces have become basically military forces. From Ted Galen Carpenter at strategic-culture.org:
The militarization of America’s local police proceeds unabated
For at least three decades, experts have noted the growing militarization of America’s police forces. The proliferation of Special Weapons and Tactics forces, or SWAT forces, is the most obvious example of that trend. Originally, such units were designed to deal with exceptionally dangerous situations (such as mass hostage incidents) in which lightly armed police would be outgunned. Not surprisingly, the first SWAT contingents originated in America’s largest and most dangerous cities.
That situation has changed dramatically. Small cities and even some modest-sized towns now have such heavily armed units utilizing military hardware and traveling in armored vehicles. They look—and act—far more like military combat units than anyone’s traditional conception of police. And the missions of SWAT forces have greatly expanded since their original formation. Increasingly, local authorities use them in routine matters that involve little or no danger of major violence from the targets of police action.
Needless to say, the neighbors were both stunned and alarmed to see such an operation take place in their quiet community. One mother stated: “I went to my daughter’s room and looked outside their window to see if I could get a better view of what was going on, and there was a man in fatigues with a sniper rifle laying in my neighbor’s driveway.”