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The Military Government

Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the bazookas-for-all dept.
v3rgEz writes: Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what equipment other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon's 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear.
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

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  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:17PM (#47687109)

    Military surplus doesn't kill people, cops kill people....

  • Too much surplus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halltk1983 (855209) <halltk1983@yahoo.com> on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:18PM (#47687127) Homepage Journal
    If we have this much surplus, clearly we're buying too much. I know that if I find myself giving away cans of green beans, I make sure I don't buy a whole pallet the next time I'm at Costco.
  • by jd2112 (1535857) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:27PM (#47687153)

    If we have this much surplus, clearly we're buying too much. I know that if I find myself giving away cans of green beans, I make sure I don't buy a whole pallet the next time I'm at Costco.

    Perhaps, but unlike the military you don't have some Senator from a state with a lot of green bean farms and canning plants telling you that you must purchase pallets of green beans regardless of whether you want or need them.

  • Re:Real Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lsllll (830002) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:31PM (#47687179)
    Actually many (not all) of the policemen and policewomen in the U.S. are ex military. They've been trained on the equipment that was donated to the police departments. What we should be asking is why have we come to a time/place that we think we need a swat team knocking on a door for an eviction, or even a low profile drug related arrest.
  • Re:Real Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:46PM (#47687227)

    Actually many (not all) of the policemen and policewomen in the U.S. are ex military.

    That in itself can be a problem. Take a person who has been trained to shoot first and ask questions later and then make them into civilian law enforcement.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • by drnb (2434720) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @12:16AM (#47687353)
    Sort of ... only allow police to have firearms that civilians are allowed to have. Solves two problems. The militarization of police and the disarming of the civilian populace.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @12:19AM (#47687363)

    We just finished with two useless wars.

    Those wars were NOT useless. They generated enough ethnic hatred, extremism, and anti-Americanism to ensure generous defense budgets for decades to come. From the point of view of the MIC [wikipedia.org], these wars were a big success.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @12:21AM (#47687371) Homepage
    There is your biggest problem right there, "LAW ENFORCEMENT". You keep letting that term slide through and your problems will only continue to get worse. They are not law enforcement, their duty is not to force the law, they are not the courts, the place where judge and jury enforce the law upon those that they have proven to have broken it. Police Officer are there to assist the public in upholding the law. When a police officer 'believes' a member of the public has broken the law, they arrest them and arraign them for trial. Where the claim is substantiated and the court enforces the law and applies a penalty.

    What you have now is something wildly out of control, where Law Enforcement officers enforce contempt of cop laws by brutalising them or publicly executing them on the spot. What change then start by publicly banning and legislating against the term 'Law Enforcement' because that term direct implies the role of police, judge, jury, execution and is in fact contrary to constitutional laws and is a gross and huge over reach.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @12:51AM (#47687491) Homepage Journal

    When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Now police's only tool are military-grade weapons, intended to kill.

    And sometimes the situation changes how people is, like in this Standford prison experiment [wikipedia.org]

    Add to that how police cover up miscarriages [huffingtonpost.com] and that you can't [techdirt.com] film [huffingtonpost.com] the police [rawstory.com], is not just who watches the watchers, but who watches the watchers that have military-grade weapons in the streets and are abusing of them.

  • by Zeek40 (1017978) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @12:54AM (#47687495)
    Because college and university police departments are full of petulant man-children who were rejected by city and county police departments and who whine like 8 year olds: But mom! All the cool kids are getting issued M-16's and tear gas launchers!
  • by bayankaran (446245) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @01:30AM (#47687547) Homepage
    US has a serious problem with militarization of police. Its ironical that the "munitions" - what an inventive word by the way - are now targeted against your own citizens. The images coming from Ferguson remind you of Ukraine and/or other war torn nations.
    All those police snipers/SWAT teams pointing laser weapons at protestors...one mistake by an adrenaline junkie will happen and you will get FPS action against your own citizens broadcast live around the world.
    The superheroes, the best and brightest who planned putting military gear into the hands of police should be sent to GITMO.
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2014 @02:22AM (#47687631)

    It's not really the weapons that make the police act this way, it's the lack of accountability.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @02:27AM (#47687639)

    When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Now police's only tool are military-grade weapons, intended to kill.

    Really? What makes you think that? The additional weapons are available as additional contingency weapons, not as a solitary replacement for all tools, weapons, technology, and methods that they used before.

    You also overlook that police departments started substituting rifles for shotguns long ago due do demonstrated need, and the experience of being outgunned.

    National Geographic Situation Critical Hollywood Shootout [youtube.com]

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by erikkemperman (252014) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @02:52AM (#47687665)

    I think the point is that when the police are shooting people in great numbers -- I don't think the US has a peer in that dept -- then it might not be a great idea to give them even more destructive weaponry. Sure it would be "contingency" equipment when anyone asks, but sooner or later it'll be standard issue.

    Remember those billions (!) of rounds of ammo that DHS bought?

    In combination with the, shall we say, questionable record of accountability of police actions, tooling up to this extent seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @03:06AM (#47687699)

    Don't you think the inability to negotiate a status of forces agreement that gave US soldiers immunity from Iraqi law had something to do with it? Should we have forced ourselves on them and violated their sovereignty?

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @03:20AM (#47687733)

    US Defense budgets and military personnel strength are in steep decline and will be for years to come due to sequestration and other cuts.

    I assume you mean the 2013 cuts -- those have been matched, basically dollar for dollar, by increasing the "temporary" budget for Afghanistan. US military spending remains outrageous, at about the level of the rest of the world put together.

    The US was attacked on 9/11 because of existing religious extremism and anti-Americanism, not the other way around, the US didn't cause it.

    Fundamentalism is a part of it, yes, but would never amount to anything like what we've seen were it not for widespread anti-US sentiments stemming from more pragmatic reasons, such as US foreign policy for the last, oh, seven decades. 911 was a scandalous crime, no doubt about it, but to state that it is completely unrelated to your own actions is patently false.

    It is baffling how you could get such simple questions so wrong. Substituting slogans for facts and thinking?

    Coming from someone who apparently still believes the Iraq war had anything to do with 911 other than rhetoric, and somehow still manages to delude himself that anti-American sentiment somehow thrives in complete isolation of its international posturing -- yeah, baffling is what that is.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:04AM (#47687943) Journal

    Not really. The actual problem is the overuse and careless use of SWAT teams to serve mundane warrants.

    It's not "overuse", it's literally 99% of what they do. Look up the stats that Maryland released after they passed a law mandating collection and public release of statistics on SWAT use. At this point we might as well conclude it's what those teams are created for.

    Will you be among the best and brightest serving arrest warrants in barricaded drug houses to heavily armed drug dealers?

    Can you give a single example of such a thing? This is often bandied around as a hypothetical scenario for why you need SWAT, but how often does it actually happens, if at all?

    In other words, nothing has changed.

    The things that changed, started to change in late 70s, and the militarization was mostly already completed under Reagan. Since then, not much has changed, indeed - it's just a slow but steady encroachment.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Travis Mansbridge (830557) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:04AM (#47687947)
    Actually, the drug addicts are the low hanging fruit, and the war on drugs is precisely why the US has imprisoned a far higher percentage of its population than any other first world nation.
  • Not a Real Problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dbIII (701233) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:02AM (#47688055)
    Somehow everyone coped in the 1950s without that when a large chunk of the population was ex-military with extensive combat experience and souvenir weapons.
    Too many idiots watching fucking Rambo movies and thinking it's real.
  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:13AM (#47688235) Homepage Journal

    You could be downloading an illegal copy of a movie from Starbucks and be busted while simultaneously a drug addict and a pimp are engaged in some sort of dispute across the street.

    It is not illegal for a "drug addict and a pimp" to be engaged in some sort of dispute.

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