A troubling trend has emerged in local police forces — the tendency to get their hands on highly armoured military vehicles.
A Fox News report details how police departments in Dallas, Murfreesboro, Tenn, and at Ohio State University have all acquired military grade combat vehicles in recent weeks.
The vehicles are MRAPs — mine resistant, ambush protected — vehicles developed in response to improvised explosive devices in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The justification for the vehicles is a bit flimsy. The police departments say it enables them to rapidly respond to events like mass shootings — though MRAPs were built not for speed, but surviving bombs, and a police cruiser can arguably deliver officers to the scene more quickly.
In the Mufreesboro instance, a city councilman reassured the town that the vehicle provided protection against “threats from armed gunmen.”
The Department of Homeland Security drew criticisms earlier this year when it was discovered they were using the vehicles to serve domestic warrants.
But earlier this summer, a retired Marine colonel in Concord, N.H., railed against the militarization of domestic law enforcement.
“What we’re doing here, and let’s not kid about it, is we’re building a domestic army and shrinking the military because the government is afraid of its own citizens,” he said.
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