Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

America's Cops: Tanks, but No Thanks

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about the media and lessons learned from Occupy Wall Street. 1.0. One element was a call for more reporting on the over-militarization of America's police. Here's the Daily Beast/Center for Investigative Reporting weighing in with just such an article, and it's a chilling look at a problem that is spiraling downward:

In Montgomery County, Texas, the sheriff's department owns a $300,000 pilotless surveillance drone, like those used to hunt down al Qaeda terrorists in the remote tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Augusta, Maine, with fewer than 20,000 people and where an officer hasn't died from gunfire in the line of duty in more than 125 years, police bought eight $1,500 tactical vests. Police in Des Moines, Iowa, bought two $180,000 bomb-disarming robots, while an Arizona sheriff is now the proud owner of a surplus Army tank.

It should tell you something that I found this article through a link on the conservative-leaning Drudge Report. That sounds about right, because when you look at it, this should not even be your typical liberal-versus-conservative fight, but something that should alarm Americans of every political stripe. Just think about it: Washington wasting billions of taxpayer dollars while expanding the power and reach of government -- if a true conservative doesn't oppose that, he needs to turn in his true-conservative card, if there is such a thing.

(Photo by John Bazemore.)