policegroup

Footage from the protests following the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, has shocked many viewers. The scenes of a police sniper on a rooftop, armored vehicles and officers with cannons and assault rifles look like images of international unrest. Domestic police forces nationwide are increasingly adding more firepower, military gear and military tactics, which supporters say helps protect both police and communities. But critics say increased militarization puts everyone in more danger.

Guests:
Rich Roberts, public information officer for the International Union of Police Associations
Kara Dansky, senior counsel for the ACLU Center for Justice, and author of the ACLU report, "War at Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing"
Jeremy Kohler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Our police departments are becoming more like military than peace officers and I am trying to figure out why more Americans are not concerned. This is where the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party folks have got to agree.

    Nowhere in the U S Constitution does it encourage a police state. Just the opposite. Not sure if it started happening after Homeland Security was created or not, but I know it sure has gotten worse.

    • thucy

      Beth, I’m totally serious when I say that this is exactly why a lefty like myself supports your right to own a gun.
      As frequently and as passionately as I disagree with your politics, I trust your decency and that of your community over the questionable tactics of our anonymous, militarized, shoot-to-kill police forces.

      • ES Trader

        yeah pull out a toy gun or anything resembling a gun in front of a cop and your mortality has minutes left.

        you sound like a medieval quack, cure the disease by compounding the problem

        A lefty , as you describe yourself, that is a gun advocate reinforces the saying ” there are no atheists in foxholes “

        • thucy

          Again, you don’t need a “toy gun or anything resembling a gun” to be shot dead by police.
          And I know plenty of left-leaning people who grew up hunting here in NorCal, in Canada, and in the midwest. We favor gun control, but that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t fully support the right of our fellow citizens to arm themselves within reasonable means.
          Unfortunately, the escalating violence of police officers throughout the country only reinforces why this is necessary.

          • ES Trader

            hypocrisy is always justified by rationalization

            You give the Bay Area reputation for progressive, intelligent thinking a bad name.

            Please declare that you reside in the Ozarks or a state that believes in creationism without global warming

          • joedog

            A “lefty” that supports the second amendment may be a Maoist, because Mao wrote that “All power comes from the barrel of a gun”.

            A “lefty” that advocates for gun owners’ rights may have been a civil rights activist back in the 1960s, whose political organizing was protected by the “Deacons for Defense”.

            And more to the point of today’s topic, a “lefty” who supports gun ownership may live in a city that benefited from “Black Panther Police Patrols” where armed citizens acted as a check on police brutality and racism in Oakland.

          • ES Trader

            So is anarchist more accurate or just semantics?

          • joedog

            Civil Libertarian may be the label you are looking for.

            The Deacons for Defense and Black Panther Police Patrols were both organizations of armed citizens (“militia groups” is one way to describe them) who stood up to ensure that people’s civil rights were honored, and that the rule of law was maintained (and enforced equitably).

          • ES Trader

            no, from what I remember about Bobby Seal & Huey Newton in the 60’s thru Your Black Muslim Bakery in present day, they were urban terrorists that preached black power, death to whitey and bought black support by probably engaging in illegal activities like drugs that they sold to the very people they professed to be advocates of……..anarchists is a better moniker….those that condemn capitalism only to practice illegal activities in defiance of law and order are thinly disguised villains exploiting ill informed, easily swayed masses with well chosen words of pure lies

      • Beth Grant DeRoos

        I trust a politically progressive person like Thucy over a police officer any time, because being politically progressive simply means Thucy values the Constitutional right to be safe in their person and home, just as I do.

    • ES Trader

      The beginning was the passage and creation of the D.E.A, by Nixon, the result being the extra funding to local PD’s for drug busts, The more busts, the more funding that went to SWAT departments receiving military equipment.

      Recent escalation of PD’s looking more militatistic is from the excess military equipment from DOD as a result of the wind down of Iraq and Afghanistan from Obama admin.

      I think police recruitment needs to do a better job in candidate selection as it probably attracts too many applicants motivated by authority and power.

      Watch “How To Make Money Selling Drugs” on Netflix, its very revealing of a sub-surface trend that has been strengthening for decades and one the average American, who have had very little interaction with PD’s, are aware of

  • ES Trader

    This is a two way street. We all want law and order, a civil society and help and protection when needed.

    Bad actors are not in short supply and those that push the envelop, making life frustrating for the rest needs a monitor to keep them in line.

    However improvement in screening and regular monitoring of officers is now absolutely necessary regardless of one’s political philosophy. The business of law enforcement seems to attract too many motivated by authority and power or intoxicated by it.

    At the same time for anyone to wave a weapon, a toy weapon, or object resembling a weapon in front of an officer is irrational and deadly, no one should have to put their life on the line as part of their employment.

    What was a well intended legislation to create the DEA and the subsequent “rewards” that law enforcement has received for drug busts and Hollywood has had unintended consequences along with the Obama administration’s policy to distribute surplus military equipment as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    When stopped by an officer, the public’s role is to be cooperative, non-confrontational without an attitude to someone in a stressful line of work.

    As the ex-mayor of Ferguson said on the News Hour, blacks in Ferguson may be profiled by police however their citizens often operate vehicles with expired registrations and warrant traffic stops.

    • thucy

      “At the same time for anyone to wave a weapon, a toy weapon, or object resembling a weapon in front of an officer is irrational and deadly, no one should have to put their life on the line as part of their employment.”

      Michael Brown did not have a weapon, toy or otherwise. Neither did Eric Garner. Neither did Marlene Pinnock. And that’s just a partial tally from this summer. The list of unarmed black individuals shot dead by police or brutally beaten is absurdly long.

      Further, if’s essential to dispel the myth you cite that being a police officer is “putting one’s life on the line.” Being a police officer is NOT the most dangerous job in the US. Being a commercial pilot or commercial fisherman are the two most dangerous jobs in the US. Being a police officer is far down the list, at #10, per 2013 BLS statistics, AFTER highway worker and AFTER garbage collector.

      • ES Trader

        I didnt say or imply that officers have not or will not respond inapporpriately or illegally, but you have, as usual, with a tightly closed and padlocked mind, decided that you are completely 100% aware of what occurred.

        Especially in economically depressed areas, young men tend to have a hostile, confrontational attitude with no respect for authority.

        They think their “rights” are being violated thanks to Hollywood and misinformation shared in the community.

        The latest report is that the officer was responding to a burglary in a convenience store and was looking for a suspect, it’s unknown exactly what transpired, unless a car video with audio turns up.

        Better screening and monitoring of officers is absolutely needed and those officers more interested in dispensing power and authority needs to be weeded out.

        I do not want to become a victim of mistaken SWAT raid and have my home broken into.

        But the few times that I have been pulled over for a traffic issue, in The City as well as by CHP or in the Bay Area, I was polite, responded to the officer’s request for ID etc and the officer was calm, professional and courteous. As a matter of fact the last two times both the SF officer and the CHP officer did not cite me for a traffic violation with a warning only.

        As for the man in NY that died from a choke hold, he appeared in the video that he was not responding to the verbal commands of the officers involved before one placed him in a choke hold and wrestled him down. The officer apparently used an illegal hold but in a confrontational situation with high adrenalin situations to add fuel by being being un-responsive and yelling about “rights” is inviting trouble

  • Lance

    History has come full circle to our republic. When we the people fore-go our freedom for security theater we the people lose. The first step to correction of such issues, would be to have the populous fully exercise it’s right of the vote.

    “Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither
    in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.
    But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy
    and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is
    a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist
    dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
    bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY
    ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism
    and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”

    –Goering

    On to the issue at hand. Military equipment is fine when used appropriately. Currently police departments are escalating situations with this equipment, not deescalating the situations. Training and policy changes need to happen.

  • Sean Dennehy

    A few months ago I was driving and I saw what looked similar to an APC (armoured personnel carrier) with the Sheriff’s logo on it. I’ve used to live in Pakistan where you routinely see vehicles like this on the streets. I never expected to see it here.

  • The issue is not police tactics, the issue is police attitudes. Too many police departments act like occupying forces. They don’t live in the communities they serve and they rarely walk the streets and get to know their communities. Police should learn from the military’s efforts to “win hearts and minds” in Afghanistan and Iraq. Community policing is the key to long-term violence prevention: police living in their communities, walking foot patrols, and earning the trust of the people they serve.
    – Jeremy

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    I also disagree that equipment is completely disconnected from intelligence – it seems to me that people often reason that if they have overwhelming firepower, this will compensate for any lack of intelligence; thus they don’t feel the need to really think things through beforehand.

    • thucy

      Every day, nurses, doctors and techs in Emergency Rooms deal, un-armed, with the same troubled populations that police have to deal with.
      SOMEHOW, they manage. Perhaps we should ask how.

      • joedog

        Many others (teachers, PG&E meter readers, unemployment counselors, social workers, paramedics, firefighters, and EMTs, ambulance drivers, public transit employees, etc.) also deal with those same populations, and, like hospital staff, don’t need armored vehicles and machine guns to allow them to work up the courage to go to work each day.

  • Parisa

    If police forces have acquired these military weapons for “major incidents,” then shouldn’t we call in the National Guard in those incidents rather than militarize the police force? The state already has the military tools in military hands and can utilize them during major incidents. Why does the police force need them? The gut reaction is usually that it is extreme to call in the National Guard during some incidents. If it seems extreme to call in the military, then wouldn’t it also be too extreme for military weapons?

    • joedog

      Military members are commonly held to a higher standard of professionalism than are civilian police. The attitude displayed by the police union representative is telling – he is arrogant and unwilling to listen to any constructive criticism of his special interest group.

      • Frank

        Giving military weapons to cops is like giving booze to an angry drunk.

  • thucy

    Please ask Police Union spokesman Rich Roberts to address the fact that being a police officer is only the 10th most dangerous job in the US, AFTER garbage collector.

    If we are not giving garbage collectors tanks, why give them to cops?

  • Uncanny Valley

    So long as “officer safety” is sacred and beyond review, “citizen safety” is imperiled.

    The conversation that needs to be had cannot be had if it is framed with respect to officer safety.

    So to reboot: any question of officer safety should be met with the observation that all police are police by choice.

    Anyone in a uniform who is so worried about making it home to their family that they feel the need to shoot an unarmed person is in the wrong line of work.

    If you can’t take the danger of the job, then quit.

    • thucy

      Sure, but the BLS stats indicate that being a cop isn’t all that dangerous to begin with. Barely makes the top ten.

      • SpiritofNews

        If it’s not dangerous why deploying armored vehicle, and warfare weaponry etc….?

        • thucy

          exactly.

      • ES Trader

        Your naivete time and again is unbelievable, you exist in a fantasy world entirely devoid of the real world.

        Citing statistics is not reality

        • Paul Dunn

          So the fact that I am eight times as likely to be killed by a dumbass sweating punk cop as a jihadist is of no meaning? I think it is. I’ve witnessed this system first hand and you are not only wrong, your’e supporting a system that will fail.

          • ES Trader

            So become a cat and you still have 1 life to spare !

            Then try moving to Honduras, word is they are looking for people and don’t forget to remove 911 from your speed dial

      • joedog

        American police are more than ten times as likely to kill a suspect or innocent bystander as they are to be killed in the line of duty.

        About 11% of police shootings in America result in the death of an innocent person.

        This raises the question: should we be more concerned with officer safety, or protecting ourselves from the police?

    • Guest

      It’s analogous to people saying corporate profits matter and consumer protections don’t. Power is respected, and the powerless are not.

      And you should be skeptical about any “innocent” explanations for why the cops are being militarized. There is a real plan somewhere. It’s not about trying to avoid throwing out equipment. After all, the USA sells arms to the world and used weapons have value. Giving this equipment to the cops for free is a monetary loss.

      • ES Trader

        I get paranoid in public when I’m stoned, maybe you should give up pot

  • Mark SF

    Armored vehicles and military tactics on the general public is used for the intimidation and oppression of democracy. It is the beginning of a police state. The general public becomes the enemy and not the public they are suppose to serve and protect. Yes go after the people that are looting and breaking the law and hiding under the cover of people of protesting. Use undercover cops. Identify the few that are there to create mayhem and use the situation. Freedom of speech and the right to protest are not crimes. They need to be protected.

  • adam

    Often members of our military are not allowed to move through the battlefield with a round in the chamber of their gun making the gun ready to fire. They cannot load a round in the chamber until they are fired upon. This act of putting a round in the chamber is a mental check for the soldier signifying that they are prepared to kill and is only appropriate situations. Police officers can have a round in the chamber, gun ready to fire, at all times.

  • thucy

    That caller whose doors were kicked in by the police and who is now terrified to call the police for anything…. that was chilling. I’m sorry he had to experience that.

  • Ray

    I was in a class where an attitude similar to one the ACLU guest said (war mindset and the public is the enemy) and the instructor had to stop class and address the multiple rejections of that attitude. Actual officers effectively said “we will not do that, this is our community.”

  • LezlieKinyon

    Police have been wasting our hard earned tax dollars obtaining military-grade weaponry for a decade.

    As the child of both military officers and a state patrol officer, good policing is not dependent upon military action.

    We the people, the ultimate employers of the police departments, are NOT the enemy.

    • Lance

      Not that I approve of the situation, but the surplus military equipment is free with the only cost being, filling out the paper work. In no way does it make the misuse of such equipment right. Basically many departments are using the wrong tools for the job. Which is very much a failure of policy and management.

  • thucy

    Kara Dansky identifies a key problem, one that specifically applies to SFPD: lack of transparency about police abuse.

  • Patricia Wilburn

    I live in Roseland in Santa Rosa, a neighborhood that is close to where
    13 year old Andy Lopez was killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff deputy. Our
    neighborhood, mostly Latino, remains traumatized after a Cinco de Mayo
    celebration several years ago where riot squads from a myriad of
    agencies were called in to handle some vandalism and street fighting
    later in the evening. I have never felt so terrorized as when, after
    returning from work, I witnessed throngs of police and tactical units
    with uniforms I’d never seen before descending upon my neighborhood in
    full regalia firing rubber bullets at terrified teens trying to leave
    the area after the trouble erupted. There were police on horseback.
    There was a helicopter flying over us throughout the night shining a
    bright beam on our houses, and as I stood in my front yard I witnessed
    several squadrons of differently uniformed police in full riot gear
    parading down the cross street past the poorest apartment complexes in
    the neighborhood. I started snapping pictures since I couldn’t believe
    what I was seeing and the helicopter came and started hovering over me
    shining its beam on me and one of those parading by had a German
    Shepherd police dog and he allowed him to lunge at me saying, “Wanna pet
    the nice doggie lady?” There was so much negative response to the
    police action that the City of Santa Rosa handed over the management of
    the event to the local community to manage and it is now a wonderful
    family outing every year.

    • ES Trader

      What about the vandalism and street fights that occurred first ?

      Response may have been excessive but as a resident weren’t you in fear of being a victim of it yourself?

      Seems like the blame is mis-placed

  • Todd Claybaugh

    Rich Roberts is the worst. He is completely defensive and not contributing to a productive conversation. Please do not ever have him on your show again.

    • Bill Brady

      Todd- I had the same feeling; I was half listening to the show and got tense just listening to Rich’s tone of voice. I agreed with some of his points, but was very put off by how he presented himself and his ideas.

    • joedog

      While he was a terrible person to engage in a dialog with, he was an excellent guest in the way he represented so much of what is wrong with some police in America today. He was arrogant and made his sense of entitlement and “cops versus citizens” attitude very plain.
      While he is a poor representation fo what a police officer should be, he is an accurate reflection of what too many of our police officers have become.

      • Todd Claybaugh

        Well said. I hope he is not an accurate representation of the majority of police and just one of the vocal minority. Let’s hope Rich Roberts is just another useless politician.

  • joedog

    Notice the violent reaction of the police union guy to the idea that police officers must accept some risks as part of their jobs?

    The risk factor of police work is how the high salaries and generous benefits packages for police are justified.

    If you are afraid of the job, find a more suitable line of work – your job is PUBLIC safety, not officer safety.

    • thucy

      Yes, the so-called “risk” is the so-called “justification” for the obscenely high salaries. But the risk is grossly overstated. BLS stats show that the job barely makes the top ten of most dangerous US jobs.

      • joedog

        The average civilian cop makes well over double what the average military member makes, plus overtime, plus shift differential, plus getting to go home at the end of their shift, plus a generous pension and benefit plan.

  • cooper29

    When the police think it is okay to employ sniper rifles and other military hardware against civilians exercising their first amendment rights, the US constitution is dead. The militarization of the police and arming of federal agencies, is intentional and comes from the leadership at the top- both parties and the MIC. We live in corporate/oligarchical
    state. Corporatism is the foundation of the fascist state, and the police, whether they know it or not, are being militarized to defend that state. The leadership know that someday, US citizens (like the people of Ferguson) will have had enough, and then they will need a militarized police to “keep order”.

    Don’t believe me? Look back to what was done to the Occupy movement. The attack on Occupy was coordinated at the highest levels of government, with the DHS being at the core. The same DHS folks who are sending the military gear to our local police.

  • Kim

    Police force militarization is a concern. The safety of the public is critical, as is the safety of our police officers. But I think we are not discussing the larger issue driving this escalation in the use of military grades weaponry in law enforcement. Our entire society is becoming increasingly fear-based, violent and heavily armed (often with automatic weapons) with improper training in their use. We must de-escalate the violence in general to ensure the safety and well-being of all in society.

  • Prosen

    I come from a country (a democratic country) where police do not have military grade equipment but still manages to be extremely corrupt and to harass its citizens. So the point that police only needs military grade equipment to become a dominant force and harass citizenry is not true.

    I think media in US is extremely focused at highlighting the bad policing incidents that skews public perception towards police. Thousands to good policing incidents go unreported and handful of bad ones are the only incidents that get discussed. Police in US is doing a good job to keep everyone safe and secure. They need more encouragement not constant criticism.

    • ES Trader

      I mostly agree with you, generally these incidents occur in economically depressed areas, and not in Pacific Heights, Marin county and other affluent areas.

      I will get “racist” responses, but people in economically challenged areas tend to be less educated and prone to disrespect authority from police, teachers etc.

      No one, unless the officer’s car video w/audio turns up, knows exactly what happened, but the officer was responding to a burglary in a convenience store..

      Beginning with the creation of the DEA, police departments have escalated militarization too far and infractions have occurred, but a civil society requires a responsive police officers in time of need

      • Lance

        Your one sided analysis is to simplistic in regard to the socioeconomically repressed population. Also correlation does not imply causation.

        “The Stanford experiment”, applies to this situation, where by perfectly moral people can and will behave in very questionable ways.

        The current agreed point of view at least is that the police are using the wrong tools for the job. Which is very much bad policies, and management.

        • ES Trader

          I am aware of the Stanford Experiment, why do you think costume functions are different than non or even the expression, “clothes make the man” ?

          I’m very aware of human nature, which is the source of my income but education and socio economic variables are factors, generally, of behavior

          Would you rather get lost without gps in areas of Oakland or Potero Heights at night and have to ask for directions or be in a similar situation in Pacific Heights or in Marin county ?

          It’s disingenuous to not acknowledge that youths, especially male, tend to disrespect authority on average in areas for lack of a better term ghettos and projects.

          If you consider that prejudice, then I am guilty, if you consider that racism, so be it.

          Funny how neighborhood residents came out voluntarily at intersections in The City, directing traffic following Loma Prieta in a powerless blackened City when I was drivng up Fillmore to get to Lombard to cross the GGBr,leaving Candlestick when the next day’s Chronicle reported that cars exiting via Bay Point were pelted with rocks, bottles and bricks. Luckily for me my knowledge of the area avoided it.

    • Paul Dunn

      Yeah, my favorite recent safe-keeping incident was the bank robbery in Stockton CA where a disproportionate response by local police kept a hostage completely safe by putting at least 10 rounds into her during their highly adept “negotiations” with 2 armed robbers. At least 10 rounds – nothing could be done – I mean, YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP AND SHOOT BACK WITHOUT EXERCISING ONE CELL OF YOUR FAT MEAT HEAD. That’s usually the case with inbred hicks from simpleton towns in America where we let slow minded bullies run law enforcement and hope they take on the Hells Angels and cartel growers. In San Francisco organized crime was associated with a California Senator. The guy has not been incarcerated. A confederacy of dunces. But other places I know have not disarmed their citizens contrary to the United States Constitution and let these complete idiots run their communities like little sheep ranches – they have almost zero crime. They know each other. Of course they also understand basic economics as well, unlike the fat little piggies God in his graciousness let into our gene pool to keep us sharp. They don’t simply take exploitation as the rule. They understand disenfranchisement and crime are linked and criminalizing poverty is bad for freedom and democracy. They don’t create a drug war for low level pot crimes and fill private prisons with immigrants and mentally ill people (if they don’t shoot them before they have a chance in court). Our law enforcement should be scaled back and be forced to work on actual crime rather than community “peace keeping”. We would not have had most of our country’s historic riots were it NOT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT NEGLIGENCE or systemic racism in defense of established economic interests! You can’t make this stuff up!

  • joedog

    When we have very strict rules of engagement for combat troops in war zones dealing with enemy combatants, why do we have such lower standards for civilian police dealing with citizens suspected of criminal activities, many of which are nonviolent?.

  • Selostaja

    One word: fear. On all sides.

  • John

    You put on boots and your attitude changes. Assault weapons and sniper rifles and armored vehicles are just a extrapolations. As a military veteran, I always understood that the military cannot do police work. Thanks for spelling out the obvious.

    • joedog

      What I’ve noticed is that when cops cover up their badges and badge numbers/name tags, they start to act very differently.

      When people can hide behind anonymity and avoid consequences, they tend to behave badly.

  • Mark SF

    Police have to be safe for themselves and not end up in the dead but their job is also the safety of the public and not killing them. How do guns setup on top of armored vehicle in front of a demonstration keep the general public safe?

  • Helen Baumann

    It is asking too much of our police officers to expect them to be community guardians most of the time and warriors some of the time. We have military resources available to our police departments in times of need. We do not need or want a militarized police force. I suspect that this is the work of our military-industrial complex looking for new markets. Please don’t give it to them. We are becoming a less violent society. The statistics are amazing and hugely under-reported. We need to not be so afraid!

  • SpiritofNews

    It’s clear that your guest, Robert is advocating military equipment for the police, for security reason while emphasing the police protection versus the public. I think it’s disturbing. Tons of data show the amount of deadly incidents happening nationwide regularly, because of lack of police self control but rather controlled by fear, in what Can be considered as a collapse of professionalism. Maybe it’s a lack of training so please give a military training to police it goes with the equipment.

  • Paul Dunn

    Anyone who thinks we do not currently live in a police state, against the backdrop of the overreach of authoritarian federal agencies and their alleged illegal activities against the American People, as well as the police activities that we routinely see leading to deaths of innocents and not hardened criminals, IS COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY. The federal agency and justice activities against even the press corps for withholding the names of whistle-blowers and the failure to hold the CIA chief accountable for lying to U.S. Senate oversight committees hardly provides disenfranchised members of communities – those increasingly at odds with their own system of governance – the confidence or ability to establish effective police oversight panels for their own communities. Militarization of weapons and tactics is compounded by systematic, structural racism in our society. Ask anyone living, anyone, in Oakland or Vallejo or St. Louis if they could pull off what some hick in the Nevada desert got away with and still be alive or not in prison. But when a baby has brain damage from an extremely aggressive and overblown drug bust in Georgia we get to hear golly-shucks logic again, like we do from all the slow witted mindless shills that lead the public relations campaigns of most of our government at present, from top to bottom.

  • Jon-Edmond Abraham

    Baloney! We don’t need military style policing. Ever. We need tough citizen oversight of police departments and tactics. Otherwise they become far more of what they already are. They already are made up of former military persons and trained in that tradition. They will shoot before any other option if we, the people allow them to do so. And if we do that’ll definitely foster further and worse policing. They are these days NOT serving citizenry, but themselves as they were noted to do in the past with corruption and now at a much higher pay. Police are more the problem than any solution these days and we, the people are sitting by letting this continue and fester…with rare exception. More than service, police forces (especially here in the SF Bay Area) give more blowback to control and oversight than service to we, the people. This (the USA) is a police state. We, the people can do little to reverse police tactics and practices without constant, effective oversight of the culture. And a whole lot more jobs for we, the people would help, too!

  • joedog

    We have seen two different approaches to police work in action in Ferguson, Missouri this week.

    The first had the city and county cops playing soldier. They used dogs, tear gas, armored vehicles, and heavily armed officers with their uniforms, names, and badges hidden by mounds of tactical gear to disrupt and try to shut down what was a peaceful, but angry protest. Their actions escalated tensions, and their disruption of the protest event created confusion and chaos which allowed some people to riot and loot, while neither protest organizers or the police could effectively communicate with, or control them.

    These same local agencies treated the media as a hostile presence, gassing TV crews and arresting and roughing up reporters.

    People in the community – and all over the nation – lost a lot of respect for law enforcement due to the poor choices made by the Ferguson and St. Louis County Police.

    Then, a professional police agency was brought in to restore order and rebuild public confidence and trust. With a smart leader, the Missouri State Police entered Ferguson wearing regular police uniforms, with their badges and name tags showing.- no dogs, no tear gas, no gas masks, no tactical gear, no armored vehicles, no “Rambo”s. These officers mingled with the crowds, marched with the protesters, and told them that they could protest all night, as long as people didn’t start burning or looting. The violence stopped as soon as the police started acting as peace officers and stopped provoking the citizens and escalating (if not causing) the tension and violence..

    Time and time again, I have seen bad things happen when cops start covering up their badges and name tags. At that point, they become a faceless part of an occupying force, able and willing to break the law with little chance of ever facing the consequences of their actions, instead of police officers who people can deal with as human beings.

  • Joshua_Falken

    What happened to Posse Comitatus? When the line between domestic police and our armed forces become so blurred as to become virtually indistinguishable, we are going to have a bad time. It has already gone way too far, we need to stop it before it is way too late.

    • cooper29

      Posse Comitatus is dead. In July of 2008, candidate Obama argues for a civilian national security force that is just as powerful as our military.

      “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the
      national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian
      national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as
      well-funded.”

      Here is the youtube link:

  • Jon-Edmond Abraham

    There needs to be a gun, weapons technology that disallows any lethal projectile. I mean there needs to be bullets that do not ever kill, but instead immobilize. The police are too often choosing tactics and practices that kill when what they should be doing is immobilizing. We, the people need to develop these “weapons” for use throughout law enforcement. I don’t think this is too much to ask. Guns would no longer be lethal when and where they need not be. We’ve pretty much phased out old fashioned light bulbs, right? Why not phase out old fashioned bullets? Police departments use rubber ones, right. Why do we, the people persist in allowing the use of killer bullets, when we can accomplish safer policing? We practice safer sex, because unsafe sex practices are lethal, right. Killer bullets are NOT for policing citizenry and there are safer, and effective alternatives.

  • concerneth

    Keep dumping on police until they don’t exist. Have an anarchist state, see how you like it.

    Oh wait, you won’t.

    Or, show respect for the hardworking men and women in uniform who come from all walks off life, and you will have no problems.

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