DHS helping fund militarization of local police departments
by: J. D. Heyes
Thursday, May 09, 2013
If you paid any attention to the news surrounding the terrorist attacks at the Boston Marathon – and in particular the house-to-house searches that took place in the hours following the attacks – you witnessed a growing trend in law enforcement that should be very concerning to you: the militarization of local police forces.
Of course cops should be as protected as possible as they carry out their duties, but the proliferation of so many SWAT units – dressed in body armor, wearing Kevlar helmets and tactical equipment vests while carrying assault weapons (yes, cops carry true assault weapons) and riding around in explosion-resistant armored vehicles – is giving local police the look of an occupying army. And in America, that is very problematic, say civil libertarians.
What’s worse, the federal government, through programs established within the Pentagon and various agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, are either donating, funding or otherwise providing a sizeable portion of this military-grade gear to local police who are then employing it for use more frequently to carry out routine police duties.
“We want the police to keep up with the latest technology. That’s critical,” American Civil Liberties Union Senior Counsel Kara Dansky said, reported the Contra Costa Times. “But policing should be about protection, not combat.”