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Leviathan Richard Falknor on 21 Apr 2014 10:02 am

SWAT Overreach & Rogue Policing: More GOP Indifference?

“Many veteran law-enforcement figures have severe qualms about the turn police work is taking. One retired veteran of a large metropolitan police force told me: ‘I was recently down at police headquarters for a meeting. Coincidently, there was a promotion ceremony going on and the SWAT guys looked just like members of the Army, except for the police shoulder patches. Not an image I would cultivate. It leads to a bad mindset.” – John Fund
“They teach cops to use more force, sooner, more often, and how to justify it after the fact.” — Radley Balko

Writers across the center-right spectrum have been warning about what we have called the SWAT Fixations of Militarized Police – from Radley Balko here to Roger Kimball here.

The most recent is John Fund’s NRO post here last Friday “The United States of SWAT? Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizens.”

Author Fund reveals

“Since 9/11, the feds have issued a plethora of homeland-security grants that encourage local police departments to buy surplus military hardware and form their own SWAT units. By 2005, at least 80 percent of towns with a population between 25,000 and 50,000 people had their own SWAT team. The number of raids conducted by local police SWAT teams has gone from 3,000 a year in the 1980s to over 50,000 a year today.”

But actually persuading Republican leaders get their arms around this national-and-state-level menace to our society is a daunting task.

A few state lawmakers of both parties here, however, have been paying attention. But, to our knowledge, no statewide Republican officers.

Of course, the national GOP leadership is primarily concerned with making deals or engaging in “common-sense pragmatism,” as they call it.

Recall that the GOP controlled part or all of the Federal government from 1995 to 2009, including the House purse strings – should they ever have wished to pull them tighter — from 2011 to the present. This embraces the period of Federally aided SWAT growth, apparently unchecked by Congressional or executive branch oversight of this mindless largesse.

Getting politicians to address SWAT growth and abuse is clearly a task for Tea Partiers and allied grass-roots organizations of conservatives and libertarians.

Sadly, there is no big donor lobby for our ancient liberties, in today’s Beltway GOPonly lobbies for open borders and crony capitalism.

(Revised, and with apologies for the earlier misidentification of Roger Kimball.)

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Readers may wish to revisit our other closely related posts–

Will Virginia’s Next AG Address SWAT Rules & Police Militarization?
Strengthening SWAT-Use Reporting: In Maryland, and Nationally
Tracking The Right Use & Misuse of SWAT Teams
Another Swatting! But Who Else in the GOP ‘Will Keep the Bridge?’
Protecting Free Speech: Where Is the Other 64% of the House GOP?
New Threat to Our Free Political Speech: “SWATTING” Bloggers
No longer “Live Free or Die” in the Granite State?
End SWAT Team Overreach in Maryland and Virginia The security of one’s family and property against gross misuse of state power must always be a central conservative concern. Thus we invite the attention of readers to the case of the SWAT team here invasion of the home of mayor Cheye Calvo of Berwyn Heights, Maryland.”

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