That’s an MRAP

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Enveloped.”

What kind of equipment does the police department own in your town?

Wrapped in MRAP

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Photo Source: Raymond Wambsgans, courtesy of Flickr.com

Remember back in 2013 or so? Reports were just surfacing that the U.S. military was giving away extra equipment to police departments and campus security offices. In my state, $11 million in surplus equipment was handed out to fifty law enforcement agencies, including several in our county. The program was part of the counterterrorism strategy set in place after Sept. 11, 2001.

Lane County, Oregon, is not exactly a haven for terrorists.

While in college, I visited Romania, when the country was run by the communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaucescu. What a shock to visit a country where airports and government buildings were ringed by soldiers toting automatic weapons.

Yet, here we are.

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Washington, D.C. police. Photo source: Matthew Bradley, Courtesy of Flickr.com

It took tragedies to raise awareness, but the spirit of protest is alive and well.

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Photo source: scottlum, courtesy of Flickr.com

In response to public pressure, this week President Obama banned the federal government from providing armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft , firearms and ammunition of .50-caliber or higher, grenade launchers, bayonets and camouflage uniforms to police.

To qualify for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles (MRAPs), drones or battering rams, law enforcement agencies will have to explain why they are needed, how they will be used, and how officers who use them will be trained.

We are far from recovering from September 11, 2001. The first response — to envelope ourselves in weaponry — will haunt us, perhaps for as long as we are a country. Still, we made progress this week. Maybe we’ll find our way out of the deep freeze.

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Does your state college have a mine-resistant vehicle? What do you think about the federal program to give surplus equipment to local law enforcement?

18 comments

  • Nothing scarier than a police force armed with military vehicles – if they’d had them in Berkeley during the 60s it would have been a blood bath.

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    • The photos from Ferguson were pretty eye-opening, weren’t they? You’re right, it does call to mind the Vietnam-era protests.

      Like

  • I think sometimes it might be warranted, but I agree, there should be a clear statement of need as well as legal consequences if the equipment is used for anything other than for what it’s intended. Of course, that could end up being a slippery slope.

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  • As far as I know our police force doesn’t have any, but that might be hush-hush knowledge for all I know. Should they be armed this way? Heck no. They’re getting much too militant and dangerous.
    Recently a couple officers committed suicide in my area (populations 500,000). We do not have a high crime rate. Men have been treated with excess force, even the ones mistaken for someone else. Give them military weapons? I don’t think so.

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    • You might be surprised what your police force has. Maybe a few grenade launchers? For those dastardly do-wrongers in the trenches?

      What a heartache about the officers in your area. It must be very difficult to be a police officer in this day and age.

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      • But I don’t understand why the difficulties. Most crime is petty. Of course as I say this, we just had a down and out shoot out yesterday. What’s going on here? Sigh. I don’t know anything anymore. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  • We really need to find a balance and be careful not to go from one extreme to the other. We also have to be careful what message is sent out. This whole thing scares me to no end as my son prepares to become a police officer!

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    • From what I know about you, your generosity and sense of humor, and your funny stories about your family, your son is going to be one of the best. It is scary, and wonderful, too. Looking forward to your stories about what you learn from him. I have the highest respect for our local police, who have to deal with the most difficult people in our town, on a regular basis. It takes a hero to do it right, and your son will be one.

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  • So…does this mean that Police Departments that already have this equipment have to return it? Because this has been going on for a while which has put many in fear of a Police state. Truly, what were they thinking? Military weapons in the hands of local police? I hate to think what could happen with all the current unrest. Good post Julia! 🙂

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  • Thank you for asking. I was trying to keep myself under 350 words, and cut the part about the existing equipment out there. The federal government is considering whether to confiscate some of the military equipment already given to police departments. Since Obama has proven a reactive President — that is, responsive to public pressure — probably won’t happen unless there is a large outcry.

    Most of us weren’t thinking, because most of us didn’t know. Golly, who would have imagined that we manufactured too many weapons, tanks, grenade launchers, and had enough to give away? Who would have imagined that local police would have even wanted them? Heck in Britain, Iceland, Norway, Ireland and New Zealand, police officers don’t even carry guns.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sorry, that equipment given to police is ….not intelligent thinking at all. Hope President Obama resists pressure to backhandle on his demands to the military.

    Liked by 1 person

  • This is a very good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Thank you for sharing this
    one. A must read article!

    Like

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