A few militarization stories that have been collecting in my inbox . . .
Here’s the latest addition to the Roanoke, Virginia, police force, thanks to a DHS grant:
Here’s photo of the police APV making appearances around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania this month. The city bought the vehicle in 2009 thanks to a quarter million dollar grant, also from DHS. I always wonder about the cammo. Why do so many SWAT teams wear camouflage? Are they really serving many warrants in the woods? I’ve been reporting on and researching this issue for more than five years now. I can’t recall a single story in which a SWAT team needed to sneak up on a drug dealer, fugitive, or hostage taker who was hiding in the trees.
Here’s one of a number of military-style pieces of equipment the Sun-Sentinel recently reported have been acquired by Florida police departments through DHS grants or the Pentagon’s surplus program. (Screen cap from a video you can watch at the link.)
Here’s an article about similar vehicles DHS has funded to fight the terrorism threat in terrorist hotspots like Garfield County, Colorado. And here’s a local news commentary about the city of Portland, Maine’s acquisition of a Sherman tank in 2009. (Actually, it’s a modified M-113 APC.)
Note the easy conflation of cops and soldiers in this article, headlined, “Area officers hone combat skills.”
And finally, for the kids . . .
The last time Chris Jones was at the Simi Valley police station, the matter was somewhat serious: She was filing a report for her stolen GPS.
But on Saturday, she and her family visited just for fun.
Her 4-year-old son, Brandon, had already checked out the SWAT team’s armored vehicle, but suddenly he was sprinting toward it again. He climbed in the side door and within seconds was popping his head in and out of the top hatch, a big grin on his face.
Hope they also handed out pellet guns and stuffed dogs for target practice. Here’s one more:
Michael Haecker and his 4-year-old son went to see the firetruck and the police department’s armored personnel carrier first, but then visited the Board of Health table and learned about brushing their teeth.
There’s something appropriate about juxtaposing the APC to an activity mundane as teeth-brushing. These sorts of images have become about that common.