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Walking the Line Between Freedom and Security

In the video below, Dom Raso clarifies where he stands on the militarization of police, and responds to the criticism he faced over his opinion regarding shared training and resources between law enforcement and military.

I think Dom did a good job clarifying where he stands. One thing that Dom said that I think everyone who opposes police militarization needs to hear is this:

If you want to change things, don’t go after the rank and file guys on the street.

This is a sensitive subject for good reason, with reasonable, passionate arguments on BOTH sides of the fence, but to effect change, the conversation has to reach the correct audience. Taking your anger out on the guys working the streets will only make matters worse.

Personally, I think Robbie summed it up best when he said this: if the general public is prohibited from owning it, the police don’t need it either. Case in point, take this story out of Walton County, Florida from a couple days ago.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office got the mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle for the cost of transporting it. The vehicle, for which the department paid $2,500, was a surplus military vehicle that was demilitarized for law enforcement use.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office Mike Adkinson calls it “an insurance policy,” to help keep deputies safe in dangerous situations.

Here’s the the problem: Walton County, Florida has very low crime, and the people who live there know it. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Walton County, which has a population of almost 60k, had exactly zero murders in 2012. Tell me again why they need an MRAP?

I have an idea, how about we take our surplus military gear and put it to work protecting the border? There’s a humanitarian and law enforcement crisis going on right now on our southern border, and today we have news that a Mexican military helicopter fired on border patrol agents.

Where do you think surplus military gear would be most useful – in Walton County, Florida, or on the southern border?


10 Responses to Walking the Line Between Freedom and Security

  1. Mike June 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    I mostly agree with Dom, but I, like Robbie, draw the line at things like MRAPs which cannot be purchased by the general public. If I can’t have it, they don’t need it either. Same SHOULD go for automatic weapons.

  2. pase doble June 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    This is all good… BUT, the guys on the street are the ones that pull the triggers, do the raids and make the arrests, of course the anger is going to be directed at them. The rank and file are the ones that can MOST effect change with their fellow civilians, the bureaucrats are not going to do anything. They apply and get federal grants of 100’s of thousands for this equipment. The more money they spend this year justifies a larger budget next year. That is what bureaucrats do. Agree with Mike, if I can’t have any of this stuff neither can they. Police are civilian authorities, NOT military. Posse comitatus is there for a reason. If you change a policing organization to a quasi military enforcement organization you cross the line. I honestly don’t think we want to dance on that line. My 2 cents.

  3. dgdimick June 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    I live in New Mexico, if you have not been following the news, Albuquerque PD, has just gone through a DOJ review of the 23+ killings they committed in the past 2+ years. The DOJ found that most of these killings where not justified. However, very few members of APD have had charges brought against them, or even been fired. The DOJ had to tell APD to STOP SHOOTING at moving vehicles; guys, this is simple stuff here. I don’t share Dom’s rose colored glasses view on PD’s. Maybe where he lives the PD’s are under control, however, there are far too many that are not.

    I guess when we all are allowed to have SMAWS or something to defend against these MRAPS, then I’d be supportive of allowing local PD’s owning them.

  4. hardh8 June 27, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    I agreee with dg’s comments. The police state in America is totally out of control. It is the rank and file officer who are doing this police states bidding. Barak 0bama isn’t going to go to anyones home and comfiscate guns or do illegal searches. Neither is Nancy Palosi or Harry Reid. This is going to be done by the local police. What do you do when the police state “stacks right” on your front door? Come to the door and try and talk some reason to the cops? That’s not going to work and we all know this. I said on here before not only do I blame the beat cops, but now I will no longer find my fellow citizens guilty at the hand of this police state. I don’t trust them. I could list some of the travisties of justice beat cops have done lately but WHY? We all know them. What they did in New Orleans. OR how about the illegal searches the police state did in Boston? They don’t deserve to be trusted and the majority of the public now knows this.

  5. hardh8 June 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    Has anyone on this site ever seen the web site PINAC? Which stands for photography is not a crime? If you go to that site you will see HUNDREDS of videos of rank and file cops doing the dirtist things. Taking bribes, doing robberies, assults destruction of evidence, murder for hire. I could go on and on. The Los Angeles counrty sheriffs have been under a federal investigation for the past 2 years. A huge number of Sheriffs have been charged with crimes. The LA county sheriffs found out that the feds had planted a federal agent inside the LA county jail as part of it’s investigation. The sheriffs deputies hid this federal agent in solitary confinemnet to try and hinder this investigation. I could go on and on. But all of you already know this stuff is happening. The local police aren’t to blame? What a joke.

  6. Grampa June 28, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    In 2014 I see two officers killed by gunfire in Florida. In ether situation the assault vehicle could have or would have been used to prevent these deaths. Knowing the use for this equipment and the reason for it we see is only for the control of the population. The protection this offers you must be inside . What type of enforcement will you provide from inside an armored vehicle?
    It is clear the state has other plans for you cannot have it everywhere and it cannot be transported fast enough to be effective for anything but assault.

  7. DrSique June 30, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    Pretty misleading to suggest that, because our Border Patrol was fired on by a Mexican Military helo, militarizing thousands of police departments, throughout this country, is justified. First, this situation should be addressed by our State Department, if not the Department of Defense. It could certainly be considered an act of war. Second, being a federal agent tasked with securing our nations borders is not exactly like being a beat cop. There are far too many stories of innocents being killed or injured by tactical munitions that simply don’t belong in daily civilian police work. Far too many SWAT raids are occurring where completely unnecessary. I would say that offensive weapons, like tasers and flash bangs, are a far bigger threat than defensives systems, like MRAPs.

    • Brandon June 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

      DrSique, I think you should re-read what I wrote. I’m not advocating for the militarization of our police force (just the opposite in fact). I’m suggesting that MRAPs would be put to better use on the border than in places like Walton County Florida, and not by police.

  8. Michael C. LaMay July 1, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    The problem I see today is that too many people expect too much from Law Enforcement. The expect LEOs to be able to catch all of the criminals all of the time, especially if they are the ones who have been victimized.

    In the community I live in, there is a lot of crime and few LEOs. Most of the people here do not trust our police, and therefore rarely call them when there is a problem. They just expect the police to know and “do their job”. They are also afraid of the criminals, so they do not provide information to the police, even if it means getting a criminal off the street.

    So what is the solution? Is it to get behind your LEOs and give them support? Well that would definitely help, but again, with a small police force, there is not enough to go around covering everything.

    I would propose that instead of getting behind your LEOs, you stand beside them. Neighborhood watches are great in areas which already have low crime and more law abiding citizens than criminals. In an area where it is the opposite, the law abiding citizens need to take a more direct approach. They need to organize group patrols, let the criminals know they are being watched and reported. Take back their cities, even if it is just one block at a time.

    In order to do this, you need to have enough people willing, and someone who can train them on how to properly patrol, identify and respond to situations.

    I would be happy to hear from anyone who is willing to add suggestions.

  9. Pig August 14, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    In response to hardh8.

    I’m a LEO. I’ve never taken a bribe, robbed anyone or used my position to commit a crime. I do my job to the best of my ability and so do my co-workers. It’s pretty offensive to be put down for the actions of others. I don’t look at the civilian populations as all scumbags just because that’s all that I deal with. I agree that the police and military are two different things. As for the militarization of police, well I would like to have some of the things some military personnel have such as better equipment. I would like to have body armor that would actual stop a bullet instead of a hand me down vest that I got four years ago when I started. No I don’t really think my department needs an armored tank necessarily but I’ve been in situations where we could have used one. I’m also here to uphold our constitution. If the president orders an executive action to go door to door to take law abiding citizens guns away I won’t be the cop knocking on your door. I think every law abiding citizen should own a firearm and be trained on how to use it. It would make my job easier. I love guns and mine will not be taken. So for everyone that hates the police more than likely I don’t care much for ignorant people like you either.