The New Battlefield: Police Militarization

By Kyle Landis 8/27/13

Is the militarization of police becoming a problem? One former Marine Colonel, Dave Martino, seems to think so. With images still fresh in everyone's memory from the Boston police of the Marathon bombings, and L.A. Police of the manhunt for Chris Dorner, Former Marine Colonel Martino objected to continuation of this trend in his home town of Concord, New Hampshire.

During a town hall meeting last Monday, the city of Concord allowed testimonies and that's when Martino stepped up. The topic was regarding the city's plan to purchase a BearCat to help aid police in raids and other tactical situations, and would be considered military grade hardware.

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Martino objected to the city's plan, " What we’re doing here, and let’s not kid about it, we’re building a domestic army and we’re shrinking the military because the government is afraid of its own citizens." He also added, that "The last time more than 10 terrorists were in the same place at the same time was September 11th. And all these vehicles in the world wouldn’t have prevented it or helped anybody." He finished by saying " We’re building an army over here and I can’t believe people aren’t seeing it." See the video below.

The issue of police militarization isn't localized to just Concord, and has been noticed nationwide. One number used to measure this is the amount of SWAT raids per year. In 1980 there were roughly 3,000 SWAT style raids, by the year 2001 that number had increased to 45,000 and in the last 12 years, from 2001 to present, it has nearly doubled to 80,000 raids a year. Compare these statistics to the violent crime rate, which has decreased by over 15% in the last 5 years prior to 2011, and the problem becomes apparent.

This leaves us to question, have police departments crossed the line over to quasi-standing armies? Los Angeles has over 10,000 officers and New York City boasting numbers at 36,000. If the line has been crossed, are they violating the 3rd Amendment when they occupy the property of citizens? And is this healthy for a democracy? Perhaps the reason why Martino's testimony to Concord's city council is going viral is because it strikes at the core of what citizens see nationwide and the very serious concerns we all have of what the United States is becoming.