Friday, 26 July 2013

The militarisation of the police a cause for concern (and a good cop story)

When my neighbour was taken off to the hospital some six or seven weeks ago a City of Sarasota  policewoman and a policeman were present to lend support to the two EMT's.

The two Sarasota cops lived fully into the meaning of a police motto "To protect and serve". They were friendly, gracious, and entirely helpful.

Similarly when my neighbour's brother (visiting from Michigan) left her home with the door wide open and the house lights on (which I discovered at 4:30 a.m.) I called the local police --- n (using a non-emergency number) (do check to see if your local Police Dept. or Sheriff's Dept.  have such a number - it's sometimes better than using 911 or 999) -- the two young policemen who responded to my call could not have been more helpful.

So, I am not anti-cop!


It was maybe twenty years ago that when I returned to my office at St. Stephen's, Pittsfield, MA I was shocked to see a massive police presence at the Pittsfield Police Station - just across the street. The local SWAT team was in action, and there were armed and armoured cops "everywhere" - including some (with semi-automatic weapons, and semi-military uniforms)  on the flat roof of the police building.

It transpired that this heavy police presence was on account of a local "sweep" of suspected drug dealers.

Nonetheless it was a chilling sight -  my first encounter with the "militarisation" of local law enforcement.It felt like overkill.


This Pittsfield memory came back to me as I read of the activities of our local police, with HUGE support from U.S.Marshalls.

Here is a story from our local newspaper.


Should you want to believe that the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune"  is a leftish  anti-law enforcement "rag", please read the following from the reliably right wing "Wall Street Journal".


Whether we are from the left or the right, we should be very angry , and deeply concerned about the militarisation of law enforcement.  We are taking tiny but determined steps towards a "police state".

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