If the police see themselves as an occupying army, it makes the rest of us the enemy. From Laura Finley at antiwar.com:
On August 28, the Trump administration unveiled a new plan to roll back limits President Obama had placed in 2015 on the controversial 1033 program, which provides local law enforcement agencies and even some campus and school police with surplus military gear. Obama issued an executive order to end the program, which had provided law enforcement agencies with everything from armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms.
In doing so, Obama noted the militarized response to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting of Michael Brown, where police responded to nonviolent protesters in armored vehicles, riot gear, and with pepper spray, and previously to the use of armored vehicles and military gear by police during the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. Obama said, “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them. It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message.”
Speaking in support of the policy change at the annual conference of the Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville, Tennessee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions applauded the change, asserting (incorrectly) that the U.S. is facing an increase in violent crime. He defended the move by claiming that family discipline has eroded as well, another claim that is unsupported. Sessions received multiple standing ovations for his speech from the FOP. A document describing the policy shift says that it “sends the message that we care more about public safety than about how a piece of equipment looks, especially when that equipment has been shown to reduce crime, reduce complaints against and assaults on police, and make officers more effective.” Again, these claims may sound good to the law-and-order crowd, but they are unsubstantiated by data.
To continue reading: Trump: Don’t Militarize the Police
Arguably, police can’t be everywhere to stop all crime. Only an armed citizenry can serve as a strong deterrent. In a free society, it’s not the job of the police to guard our homes and businesses. Most of that responsibility is ours.
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