Cities continue to get ‘tanks’ they don’t need in nationwide police militarization trend

By End the Lie

(Image credit: The Brain Toad/Flickr)

(Image credit: The Brain Toad/Flickr)

Last month I reported on how Georgia law enforcement agencies have acquired a massive arsenal of military-grade vehicles and weapons through the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, it’s far from isolated.

Many law enforcement agencies acquire military equipment through the Pentagon’s 1033 program. Police have also acquired military robots through the DoD but they have other ways to get their hands on armored surveillance vehicles and armored personnel carriers as well.

Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security gave the city of Keene, New Hampshire, with a population of less than 25,000, $285,933 to buy an armored counter-attack vehicle called a BearCat, according to Radley Balko.

Keene has had a whopping three murders since 1999 according to City Data and according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the city lied about the need for the tank-like vehicle built by Lenco Industries, Inc.

The ACLU points out that a Keene City Councilmember actually admitted that the city lied about their need for the BearCat to DHS.

“Our application talked about the danger of domestic terrorism, but that’s just something you put in the grant application to get the money,” the councilmember said, according to the ACLU. “What red-blooded American cop isn’t going to be excited about getting a toy like this? That’s what it comes down to.”

Another example of this type of completely unnecessary equipment being acquired by a law enforcement agency can be seen in Richland County, South Carolina.

With a violent crime rate down 3.7% and property crime down 3.9% compared to last year, Richland doesn’t seem to have a massive crime problem. Furthermore, many of the crimes there are related to drug use or gambling, according to the ACLU.

Yet Richland’s Sheriff’s Department for some reason has an armored personnel carrier they call “The Peacemaker.”

As was reported by Reason in 2008, the armored personnel carrier has a belt-fed .50-caliber turreted machine gun which even the US military is reluctant to use on humans.

(Image credit: mpeake/Flickr)

(Image credit: mpeake/Flickr)

How exactly a weapon usually reserved for use against armored vehicles will “save lives” is anyone’s guess.

These, like the examples in Georgia are far from isolated.

“Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have sweeping access to military equipment and to billions of dollars in federal grant money to purchase heavy weaponry designed for overseas combat missions, as well as access to anti-terrorism tactical training,” the ACLU reports.

The ACLU recently launched a new project on the militarization of policing in America in response to this growing trend.

While some may claim this type of equipment is necessary to assure the safety of officers when facing massive shootouts or similar encounters, in reality, the use is much more mundane in most cases.

“And in Maryland, the transparency law has shown that police departments in the state are using SWAT tactics in precisely the ways critics have claimed: to break into homes to serve warrants on people suspected of low-level drug crimes,” according to a March 6 article by Radley Balko. “Many times, they’re not even finding enough contraband to make an arrest. Yet there haven’t been any calls in the state to reform the way SWAT teams are used.”

The disturbing results of the militarization of police are many. In 2010 a nine-year-old girl was shot in the neck and killed by a SWAT team.

(Image credit: verifex/Flickr)

(Image credit: verifex/Flickr)

Shortly before she was killed, the SWAT team threw a flashbang grenade through the window of her home in Detroit, Michigan, immediately setting her blanket on fire.

In another incident, Iraq war veteran Jose Guerena was shot 60 times by a SWAT team when serving a search warrant as part of a multi-house drug crackdown.

Guerena he picked up his own gun (but didn’t fire it) in an attempt to defend his family after his wife saw a shadowy figure in their front yard holding a gun. Police later defended their actions after retracting their claim that Guerena shot first and declining to say if they found any drugs in his house.

According to the ACLU, their affiliates in 23 states filed over 255 public records requests on March 6 with law enforcement agencies and National Guard offices to “determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments.”

More on the ACLU’s new project can be seen here.

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41 Responses to Cities continue to get ‘tanks’ they don’t need in nationwide police militarization trend

  1. Mister Jimmy March 8, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    Vehicles like this look rough and tough, but they have taken a whipping in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They are vulnerable to tank traps, roadside bombs,flamethrowers, and Molotov cocktails. Not a lot of people have .50 caliber weapons, but they can’t take a heavy attack by a .50, either.

    Reply
  2. a true patriot March 8, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    The police have nothing but good intentions for all these tanks.It is all about stability. Everyone will ultimately benefit from these tanks if the tanks were not there all there would be is chaos.

    Reply
    • abinico warez March 8, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      You’r kidding, right?

      Reply
      • Anonymous June 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

        he probably lives in California and smoked something. ;)

        Reply
        • cs p226 May 16, 2014 at 10:10 PM

          I’m from California but who ever this is is a damn blind idiot

          Reply
  3. libsarescum March 8, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    @truepatriot? “The police have nothing but good intentions”? “Its all about stability”? Stalin would have been proud of you. You are definetely a moron.

    Reply
    • Daddio March 8, 2013 at 7:19 AM

      Absolutely correct. Why are cops so damn dumb? The ONLY terrorist organization we allow to operate in this country is government, local, state and federal, they are ALL terrorists and the people do nothing about it. We must remove these pyschopathic megalomaniacs from office before they totally destroy the civility of society!!!

      Reply
  4. Mike March 8, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    hey libsarescum, I think it’s called sarcasm, we all know what these boys are up to and it’s no good, I saw one of those armored personnel carriers (painted black, of course) buzzing down the street here in SLC.

    Reply
    • nonya March 8, 2013 at 6:58 AM

      Mike, in comments sarcasm is followed by /SARCASM unless you want it lost. true patriot is most likely a paid shill.

      Reply
  5. ms.LoTay March 8, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    @truepatriot – Have you had your head in the sand? People are being detained by police for idiotic, Orwellian reasons…A mature couple slow dancing in an empty subway station, a man arrested for laughing too boisterously, children arrested for spraying perfume, burping, and throwing milk at each other. You can read about corruption in multiple police departments across the nation and countless deaths of innocent Americans due to the police acting foolishly and thoughtlessly in dangerous situations.

    And what “terrorists” are they securing these vehicles and weapons to fight? Read recent articles about “increase in domestic terrorism threats online”…they aren’t talking about crazed killers or the Taliban, they’re speaking about every day citizens concerned about their right to privacy and protection http://news.yahoo.com/southern-poverty-law-center-report-antigovernment-patriot-movement-170000154.html So, I’m REALLY hoping you’re a troll..

    Reply
  6. Nam Marine March 8, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    GOOD ! Soon the Citizens can take these away from the “Enemy” and use them for good!

    Reply
    • IAmA Pragmatist March 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Exactly. Imagine how much that would rally our civilian troops!

      Reply
  7. america home of the not so free March 8, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    the united states is following the blueprint left by the nazis. Get the citizens paranoid, get them to report on their neighbors and is getting their fema camps ready to be concentration camps. why? the usa needs enemies – either fabricated or real to justify the billions of dollars spent on the military. it beleives false flag events are necessary – check out operation norhtwoods or the report from iron mountain. next target: usa citizens. event: when greece declares bankruptcy, this will then cause a dominoe effect in the world financial markets. when deutchebank and bnp paribas declare bankruptcy, they will fall back on the CDS agreements signed with Bk of America and JP Morgan. this will bankrupt those institutions and the world will plunge into a deep depression. when usa citizens begin to protest, there will be blood in the streets. Remember Kent State? Obama the Kenyan needs to be removed from power. Congress is to chicken s__t to impeach a man who has no credentials and has not explained how a Hawaiian-born citizen gets a Connecticut social security number. This is proof how corrupt the whole govt is. When the usa goes down, just dont take everyone else down with you.

    Reply
  8. hp March 8, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Mister Jimmy is correct.

    Mr. Molotov isn’t famous for no reason and the new “equalizer” equivalent to the old days Colt .45 is the RPG.
    Especially the RPG-29.

    That stupid and insulting piece of junk is nothing but a big stick for poking a bees nest. We all know how that works out.

    Reply
    • deegee March 8, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Free honey ??

      Reply
      • hp March 8, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        No. Not free honey.
        Shit for brains.
        But you knew that.

        Reply
  9. afda March 8, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Police hardly need the weapons they have to give out tickets and bag the occasional thug. It’s plain to see that the new world order everyone scoffed at is coming into fruition during these last days and that many blind people will become targets. The fema camps, fields of thousands upon thousands of coffins, billions of non war legal bullets, multiple 10’s of thousands of AR purchases while striping our rights to have arms, and now tanks, purposely wrecking our economy to cause a problem to come in and use excessive force to subdue the public and turn us into a prison country… D U H H H !!! Only a fool would be blind enough to not see what is happening.

    Reply
    • IAmA Pragmatist March 21, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      A fool and his freedoms are soon parted. You are soooooo correct. Because of the ignorant people in this country, WE will also be victimized by these SOBs and their evil ways. It’s a sad day to me because I can see that we’ve gone past critical mass in being able to stop all this. And both sides of the political aisle say nothing about the waste of money for these vehicles, bullets, guns, et al.

      Reply
  10. David McElroy March 8, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    The socialist coup demands we become accustomed to seeing military style police actions, even military forces, in our streets and yards. Tyrants want us intimidated by superior force, and tell us to move along quietly while they smash, burn, shoot, and kill our neighbors for whatever reason they like. Even when they raid the wrong house or kill innocent people for merely moving when the ninja-style invaders crash through their windows at night, the police are never punished for either their murders or mistakes. All of our rights have been infringed and disavowed by Congress and courts, and they fully intend to totally disarm and disable us with red tape. In all of history, where has this course of government action led? I see mass graves in our future. Never give up your guns! You must stand for you. We must live free or die trying!

    Reply
    • IAmA Pragmatist March 21, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Hopefully you are armed and ready to take the first bullet?

      Reply
  11. me March 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Same as:

    “AfricanisedHoneyBees”
    …is to
    “MilitarizedPolice”.

    Reply
  12. BADGER BADGERISM March 8, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    IF THEY WANT A WAR THEY WILL GET ONE
    BUT WHEN WE START TO TURN the TIDE
    WE WILL BE EXECUTING THOSE PIGS BY the BUSHEL
    AND THROWING THEIR TRAITOR CARCASS INTO BURN PITS

    Reply
  13. eyeswideopen March 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    They hire nothing but combat trained and seasoned veterans in most major police agencies, the majority will do anything to protect their ridiculous pensions being sweated out of all of us and when the currency collapse comes they’ll mow us down to keep their families fed and their pensions secure. Take it to the bank, and the ones who quit will be replaced with foreign nationals with centuries old grudges who will pop an American with glee.

    Reply
    • Eileen Kuch March 8, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      Take this to the bank, eyeswideopen. There are over 200 MILLION firearms owned by some 100 MILLION citizens, many of them military veterans.

      In the American Revolution, ragtag militias took on the mightiest military on Earth and WON, in spite of near impossible odds. The fact is; these men fought the mighty British forces for some eight years and finally won their independence, because they truly believed in their cause and never gave up.

      What won the war for these 18th Century Patriots was their supremacy over the Brits in the art of asymmetric warfare, which they had picked up from the Indian tribes that lived nearby.

      Reply
      • IAmA Pragmatist March 21, 2013 at 10:34 AM

        Wow, talk about idle babble. Back then, then government didn’t listen in on all phone calls, computer exchanges, texts, and didn’t have drones that could bomb anyone from anywhere. Nor did they have chemical weapons, or nukes, or the whole pallet of weapons systems like the government has now. They can kill you from a long way away using frequency generators that can stop your heart or literally fry you where you stand to a pile of ash. Nor did they poison food the masses eat with GMOs, or put the poison fluoride in our drinking water, or poison citizens with so called vaccines. And they sure didn’t have the capacity to seed clouds to make it rain torrentially, or cause a drought and kill off many people. Nor did they even talk about killing off BILLIONS of people. Nor did they run up TRILLION dollar debts that we can’t pay. Stop reading old history books and look at where we are NOW. Those of us who know what’s going on really could use the help.

        Reply
  14. mike March 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    The road to hell is paved 12ft deep with “good intentions”

    Militarizing the police is one way to instill fear in the citizens. Fear is a powerful tool and one of the only tools effective in reducing the liberties of those its intended for.

    The police are becoming nothing more than Jackbooted thugs.

    Reply
    • IAmA Pragmatist March 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Becoming?! Really?!

      Reply
  15. TheHolyCrow March 8, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Gee, if this hardware is so easy to get, I am going to recommend that my local police get some too.
    That way we can protect ourselves from the Zio-Nazi-Commie bastiges that have infiltrated them-selves into our govt.

    Reply
  16. Mr. Jonz March 8, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Get creative with a few gallons of gasoline and turn that thing into a big oven for baking pork.

    Reply
    • levin March 8, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      mix in styrofoam so it STICKS ……. Fels Naphtha soap maybe too

      Reply
    • levin March 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      grease so it burns really smoky and blinds them. Paint on the windows/sensors

      Reply
  17. levin March 8, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    All across this Nation, “Homeland Defense” equipment is disappearing into garages and basements …………
    How many other lies did these creeps tell?

    Reply
  18. ARIZONA March 8, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    I see a military invasion after the earthquake and pole shift,the GOVERNMENT fully intends to enslave all of america,reduce the population by mass murder,remember what gw bush said in 1992,”we have one small nation stopping the NWO from coming to power,he never mentioned it was the USA,now all the police gangs are target practicing, shooting at women and children on their target papers, (this is your family) THESE GUYS AREN”T your friends anymore,you may think so but your going to find out the hard way if you do,SOON you may want to find out where all these traitors live ,and photograft them and their family for use later,and you will need them later cause they consider you a cockroach,Thats their new name for the people they were hired to protect,IF you haven’t been getting ready ,well IT will cost you your family and friends,and IF your a YELLOW COWARD like most americans ,don’t worry about what I told you ,life in a fema death camp will suit you fine…….for a little while anyhow………………

    Reply
  19. ARIZONA March 8, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    THE GOOD LORD shows me the future things coming to america all the time,he warned everyone not to abandon him,BUT america chose lucifer as their new daddy,AND I’am surprised cause lucifer is the KING of hell,WHY would anyone want to live in hell????…BUT thats what america has chosen,now without the lord, evil will have control of america,?? WHY would anyone chose this???? the police gangs chose lucifer a long time ago,thats why they do so much evil to the people,the whole government has become “ROTTEN TO THE CORE, TOP TO BOTTOM” and america loves it,look at your children,they look and act like devils,and you can bet when the time comes they won’t have a problem with killing you either,OH how america has fallen………………………..

    Reply
  20. Butch from Missouri March 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Those are not tanks. The first two are APC’s armoured personel carriers. or US designation M113’s. The third picture is just a wheeled APC. Armoured personel carriers. can carry a squad of troops, about 11.

    Reply
  21. Matte Kudasai March 11, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Just put this together.

    Police State USA , Life During Wartime

    Reply
  22. miklit March 30, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    mindcuff

    privacy and dignity
    phenomenons that don’t rate…
    welcome to the infancy
    burgeoning police state…

    muscled freak, born subordinate
    dressed in blue with a gun…
    here to help incumbent powers regulate
    everything under the sun….

    America——2013
    until you rise
    you asked for this
    America—–2013
    until you wake
    you deserve this

    Reply
  23. miklit March 30, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    cool video matte…

    long live king crimson as well…

    Reply
  24. miklit March 30, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    mindcuff-cont

    every aspect of existence
    open to their inspection…
    intimidated into silence
    hazardous and futile to question…

    armed slaves to the rich
    arrogant legislation…
    garrison state ensures generic
    homogeneous nation…

    America—–2013
    until you rise
    you asked for this
    America—–2013
    until you wake
    you deserve this

    Reply
  25. Anonymous June 15, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    wait until I get my nuclear submarine… #rofl

    Reply
  26. SDF July 1, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    Reply

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