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Sheriff Says Cops Need MRAP War Vehicles Because America Is A “War Zone”

Sheriff Says Cops Need MRAP War Vehicles Because America Is A “War Zone”

This article was written by Melissa Melton and originally published at The Daily Sheeple

In a recent article posted on Army Times, an Indiana sheriff justified his department’s purchase of a discount mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) military vehicle because, “The United States of America has become a war zone.”

Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer, who along with 7 other law enforcement agencies across Indiana recently acquired MRAPs from the Department of Defense’s 1033 military surplus program, went on to say, “You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract,” and “It’s a lot more intimidating than a Dodge.”

The whole of Pulaski County, it should be noted, has a total population of less than 14,000 people.

The MRAP is a $700,000, 60,000-pound, heavily armored bulletproof monster with a gunner’s turret originally designed for war in Iraqi battlefields. Now local law enforcement agencies across the country are getting them for next-to-nothing (or even free in some cases) to “police” American streets.

To give you an idea, here’s a small smattering of other departments that have received an MRAP thus far:

Most every state in the nation has at least one MRAP, many have more. Many receiving towns have less than 30,000 people and far below average crime rates that hardly justify or necessitate the need of a tank.

According to The New York Times, 432 MRAPs have been doled out to departments thus far. (At least the turrets get removed.) The Pentagon reportedly plans to offload some 13,000 MRAPs. In addition to MRAPs, over $4 billion in surplus military equipment has also been handed over to U.S. law enforcement agencies through the Pentagon program.

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Article after article has pointed out that many of these police departments do not even have protocol in place to define under exactly what circumstances the MRAP can and should be deployed.

USA Today obtained Morgan County, Indiana’s MRAP application through a public records request which said the vehicle would be used for “active shooter, barricaded suspect, emergency response, critical incident, hostage rescue, natural disaster rescue, drug search warrants and felony arrest warrants”.

In Lewisburg, Tennessee, the MRAP was rolled through a neighborhood to serve a warrant on someone considered a violent suspect, for example.

Other justifications? Our veterans:

“You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.’s and to defeat law enforcement techniques,” Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department told the local Fox affiliate, referring to improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs. (source)

Of the MRAP his department received, Albany County, New York Sheriff Craig Apple told the Associated Press, “It’s armored. It’s heavy. It’s intimidating. And it’s free.”

It’s been noted that the MRAP intimidation factor might lend to departments finding more and more reasons to use them on American Streets in the future, leading to even further militarization of our nation’s police (on top of what $35 billion in Department of Homeland Security grants to fight “terrorism” has already accomplished in that regard).

In addition, The Rise of the Warrior Cop author Radley Balko says that those Homeland Security grants have also created a new industry where military contractors market themselves to police departments — furthering the cycle of police militarization:

“A new industry appears to be emerging just to convert those grants into battle-grade gear,” Balko wrote. “That means we’ll soon have powerful private interests, funded by government grants, who will lobby for more government grants to pay for further militarization — a police industrial complex.” [emphasis added] (source)

Once a town gets a SWAT team, Balko has noted that of course they want to find reasons to use it.
One hundred to 150 SWAT raids occur in this country each day now.

More than 90% of towns with 50,000 people or more have SWAT teams in America — teams which look more like military units going to battle than police officers fighting city crime — and they are being deployed more and more, sometimes for seemingly ridiculous reasons. In Florida for example, The New York Times reports that SWAT-style teams have been used to raid barbershops, resulting only in charges of “barbering without a license” (wooooo).

So if America is a “war zone,” does that mean our police departments are going to war? Because they’re certainly gearing up for it.

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11 comments

  1. “IF” I were a criminal and you (being a LEO in any Jurisdiction) were going to respond with this style of force and equipment, I would look for the low tech solution to what you pose as a high tech problem. Local walmart sells some good paintball guns, marine flares in case I get lost, and lastly without a turret and active weapons system, you still have to get out to deliver my pizza.

    Now that being said, the intimidation factor goes down and slightly in favor of those engaged in nefarious conduct. If you think that the gangs and thugs dont know how to respond to an MRAP, well, you’re just not thinking. The current view of law “enforcement” is diminished, no longer viewed as the “good” guys just the legal thugs, which is something that deeply saddens me to say.

    While Marshal Dillon and sheriff Taylor might have put themselves in harms way a few times there is a wisdom there I have seen exhibited by a few local and state police who were large influences as I was growing up.(during a riot, one actually bellied up at the bar next to the provacators and ordered a beer) Those guys were respected by all citizens and criminals alike…God I miss Mayberry!

  2. In many instances we have seen our military send equipment into countries in preparation for invasion of that country or a neighboring country. THIS IS CALL “PRE-POSITIONING”. This is locating equipment to be ready for quick aquisition readiness in the war zone. This is EXACTLY WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING WHEN IT ALLOWS COUNTIES TO ACQUIRE MRAPS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT. These sheriffs who think (or try to convince us) that they are planning to use these vehicles to protect their citizens from federal abuse and that these vehicles are their counties’ property are either flat out lying to us or they are inconceivably ignorant. These vehicles are pre-positioned for federal use and will be taken away from the county when they are needed.
    By the way, when these vehicles are purchased, or when military equipment is given to counties, there is a contract made between the government and the county. Has anyone tried to get a copy of these contracts?

  3. Seems more like a bunch of small-town police departments looking for an excuse to start a war.

  4. @ Matt, they are traitors working to destroy the USA and her people. They do not realize that THEY are disposable useful idiots to destroy our legitimate government.

    BTW, once they no longer followed and kept the LAWFULLY required oath, they no longer meet the requirements of the position they are occupying and can be, should be fired, then arrested and prosecuted.

  5. I find it extreme thinking that just because police departments are purchasing no longer needed military armored vehicles from our government. Secondly, why does this mean we are policing our streets with them? Day after day our police officers, who are real people with family and children. The purpose of these vehicles is to be used by swat teams in situations where their lives may be put at risk. You will not find them patrolling the streets in these vehicles. That’s absurd.

  6. @ Steve F

    You mean like using SWAT teams to “serve” warrants in the middle of the night, etc?

    First, the US Constitution does NOT have allowance for ANY governmental professional law enforcement.

    It only assigns that duty along with that of enforcing the US Constitution, state Constitutions, the laws of the union (those that are in Pursuance thereof the US Constitution), and defending our nation from enemies both domestic and foreign to the people themselves as the Militia of the several states. Plus the US Constitution REQUIRES that all the implements of war go to each state’s Militia to train on and use when necessary to carry out the constitutionally assigned duties. US Constitution, Article I, Section. 8, Clause 16: “To provide for organizing, ARMING, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

    They are NOT to go to governmental professional LE’s or to foreign terrorists, nor even to foreign nations – friendly or not.

    28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

    That is what has been happening with “police departments”. There is a reason that George Washington said this: “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

    That is so that the American people can DEFEND themselves from the overreaching, treasonous people who are within our governments.

  7. @ Steve F… EXTREME THINKING:

    “Our team went by the book,” he said. “Given the same scenario, we’ll do the same thing again. I stand behind what our team did… Bad things can happen. That’s just the world we live in. Bad things happen to good people… The baby didn’t deserve this.”

    Update: As of the afternoon of 6/24/2014, Baby Bou Bou has been taken out of the medically induced coma and transferred to a new hospital to begin rehabilitation. The hole in his chest has yet to heal, and doctors are still not able to fully assess lasting brain damage.

    http://justiceforbabyboubou.com/
    As the sheriff’s department gained entry, a flash stun grenade was tossed into a room occupied by four small children, landing in the play-pen of baby bou bou and exploded at point blank range. No drugs were seized, nor were there any arrests made. The treatment of this innocent family can only be described as criminal negligence, and those responsible for this tragedy must be held accountable.

    Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014 05:45 AM MDT
    A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old son (UPDATE)
    That’s right: Officers threw a flashbang grenade in my son’s crib — and left a hole in his chest. It gets worse
    Alecia Phonesavanh

    After our house burned down in Wisconsin a few months ago, my husband and I packed our four young kids and all our belongings into a gold minivan and drove to my sister-in-law’s place, just outside of Atlanta. On the back windshield, we pasted six stick figures: a dad, a mom, three young girls, and one baby boy.

    That minivan was sitting in the front driveway of my sister-in-law’s place the night a SWAT team broke in, looking for a small amount of drugs they thought my husband’s nephew had. Some of my kids’ toys were in the front yard, but the officers claimed they had no way of knowing children might be present. Our whole family was sleeping in the same room, one bed for us, one for the girls, and a crib.

    After the SWAT team broke down the door, they threw a flashbang grenade inside. It landed in my son’s crib.

    Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. When they explode, the noise is so loud and the flash is so bright that anyone close by is temporarily blinded and deafened. It’s been three weeks since the flashbang exploded next to my sleeping baby, and he’s still covered in burns.

    There’s still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs. At least that’s what I’ve been told; I’m afraid to look.

    My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers – armed with M16s – filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any.

    I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.

    For the last three weeks, my husband and I have been sleeping at the hospital. We tell our son that we love him and we’ll never leave him behind. His car seat is still in the minivan, right where it’s always been, and we whisper to him that soon we’ll be taking him home with us.

    Every morning, I have to face the reality that my son is fighting for his life. It’s not clear whether he’ll live or die. All of this to find a small amount of drugs?

    The only silver lining I can possibly see is that my baby Bou Bou’s story might make us angry enough that we stop accepting brutal SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the “war on drugs.” I know that this has happened to other families, here in Georgia and across the country. I know that SWAT teams are breaking into homes in the middle of the night, more often than not just to serve search warrants in drug cases. I know that too many local cops have stockpiled weapons that were made for soldiers to take to war. And as is usually the case with aggressive policing, I know that people of color and poor people are more likely to be targeted. I know these things because of the American Civil Liberties Union’s new report, and because I’m working with them to push for restraints on the use of SWAT.

    A few nights ago, my 8-year-old woke up in the middle of the night screaming, “No, don’t kill him! You’re hurting my brother! Don’t kill him.” How can I ever make that go away? I used to tell my kids that if they were ever in trouble, they should go to the police for help. Now my kids don’t want to go to sleep at night because they’re afraid the cops will kill them or their family. It’s time to remind the cops that they should be serving and protecting our neighborhoods, not waging war on the people in them.

    I pray every minute that I’ll get to hear my son’s laugh again, that I’ll get to watch him eat French fries or hear him sing his favorite song from “Frozen.” I’d give anything to watch him chase after his sisters again. I want justice for my baby, and that means making sure no other family ever has to feel this horrible pain.

    @ Cal:

    http://www.thewestwire.com/un-disarmament-officers-united-states/

    ( https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=SJ&exp=All&level=0&location=4560%20&occup=0&department=2460&bydate=0&occnet=0 ; https://inspira.un.org/psc/UNCAREERS/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/UN_CUSTOMIZATIONS.UN_JOB_DETAIL.GBL?Page=UN_JOB_DETAIL&Action=A&JobOpeningId=34627& )

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/24/un-appeal-as-detroit-begins-cutting-off-water-to-delinquent-customers-report/

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