American Police Departments Adding Military Weapons and Materiel

Nash BearcatThe unwinding of the massive American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan means that there’s a lot of surplus military equipment that the armed forces are offering to US police departments, many of whom are now equipped better than some armies to fight a war reports the New York Times. Who they are fighting against is an open question for the comments…

NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.

The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”

When the military’s mine-resistant trucks began arriving in large numbers last year, Neenah and places like it were plunged into the middle of a debate over whether the post-9/11 era had obscured the lines between soldier and police officer…

[continues at the New York Times]


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25 Comments on "American Police Departments Adding Military Weapons and Materiel"

  1. Shock troops. Real badass hardware…man i can’t wait to see who they end up fighting…probably terrorists…evil terrorists who deserve to die for threatening our freedom.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Jun 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm |

      I’ve always considered trade unionists to be a kind of terrorist. Breeding ground for Al Qaida. Best to nip that whole thing in the bud.

      • Rhoid Rager | Jun 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm |

        Labour-management ‘relations’ is doublespeak for the recruiting arm of the musulman.

  2. Anarchy Pony | Jun 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm |

    When the military can’t perform police duties, militarize the police.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Jun 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm |

      Only people doing something wrong have anything to fear. American police have always been renown for their good judgment and restraint.

      • Gjallarbru | Jun 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm |

        It’s good my sarcasm detector was on…

        • Liam_McGonagle | Jun 9, 2014 at 3:36 pm |

          I think that’s why this company was founded–to build a better bullsh*t detector.

      • misinformation | Jun 10, 2014 at 12:39 am |

        And don’t forget about the ability to deescalate a violent situation…and to protect the children.

    • gotta militarize something.


  3. Ted Heistman | Jun 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm |

    America decided to shit can itself.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Jun 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm |

    the land of the free gruberment
    has long used the military to control it’s citizens
    starting with Shays’ rebellion in 1786 and on to the present day

    • Jin The Ninja | Jun 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm |

      i thought the anecdote you wrote about the chinese fellow you met in HI was so entirely telling.

  5. Aipeed Teaitchse | Jun 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm |

    Remember: They hate us for our freedom. Don’t be one of those crazy conspiracy theorists. This is the way it’s always been.

  6. Why I would rather live in a concentration camp. By KREET-N
    Unsafe neighborhoods. Crime. Sexually transmitted disease. Terrorists! Mowing your own lawn. Pesky Civil Liberties making things complicated….I seek a simpler way of life…one where i don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from or where my children will go to school. LETS ALL GO TO CAMP!
    Where the police are always brutal and you have your own uniform to wear….you’ll fit right in! I just don’t like having all this freedom. It’s annoying to see police constantly handicapped in their jobs by individual rights…lets just get rid of it all and do what we know is the right thing to do. Round all the poor people (like me) up and put em in a camp…one with jobs for everyone and real rules to govern peoples behavior….we won’t have to worry anymore!

  7. Of course they need M.R.A.P.s because you know I see the police encountering land mines, I.E.D.s and assailants equipped with R.P.G.’s on a regular basis. Oh wait nevermind they are just preparing to counter the guerilla warfare tactics that are to come when shit hits the fan in this country.

    • InfvoCuernos | Jun 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm |

      YEP. The US military is constantly trying to fight the last war. They’re gearing up the police for Afganistan, but it’s going to be more like Sarajevo.

      • Rhoid Rager | Jun 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm |

        I doubt it. All that gear is just for the super awesome parades their fixing to throw.

    • emperorreagan | Jun 9, 2014 at 8:37 pm |

      Are they building the forts for the cops yet? Because they clearly won’t be living among the rest of us anymore when they’re pulling us over with M1A1s.

  8. Chris Waddell | Jun 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm |

    The RCMP in Canada already has vehicles that make those pictured in your photo look like Tonka trucks. Ours I believe are even equipped with acoustic weaponry.

    • Rhoid Rager | Jun 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm |

      Gotta protect the oil patch.

      • Chris Waddell | Jun 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm |

        Well just recently with the shooter we had that killed the 3 officers in the Province of New Brunswick ( just 2 hours from where I live). They sent out at least one of these vehicles, which clearly was not enough as the RCMP and local SWAT had to commandeer several Brinks bank trucks to load in SWAT team members

        • Rhoid Rager | Jun 9, 2014 at 5:17 pm |

          Yeah, i saw those pics. i noticed it had a turret on the top. “surprise Kanadians! we have the technology to gun you down without having any threat to us!”

  9. DeepCough | Jun 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm |

    If you think the Police State has started, then you haven’t been paying attention.

  10. Unfortunately, military technology is like any other technology; give it to people and they feel obliged to use it. We can’t let this stuff collect dust or use it for an artificial reef can we?

  11. lilbear68 | Jun 10, 2014 at 12:20 pm |

    the heavy tech will not tip the scales in their favor. those MRAP’s need specialized maintenance beyond the capabilities of most pig motor pools.
    these are just another thing for the bullies to hide behind. and at some time the pigs will have to exit the vehicle. that’s where the numbers change. Wisconsin alone fielded over 100,000 whitetail deer hunters usually with high power scoped rifles. that’s a LOT of potential snipers

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