An Associated Press investigation of the Defense Department program, originally aimed at helping local law enforcement fight terrorism and drug trafficking, found that a disproportionate share of the $4.2 billion worth of property distributed since 1990 has been obtained by police departments and sheriff's offices in rural areas with few officers and little crime...How comforting.
Known for its speed trap and annual peach festival, Morven [Georgia] also has been one of the most prolific users of the Defense Department program, getting more than $4 million worth of goods over the past decade... [Morven Police Chief Lynwood] Yates conceded there isn't much crime and acknowledged that his officers spend most of their time on traffic enforcement. "This is probably one of the last quiet small Southern towns left in this area," he said. "Even my worst drug dealer here, if I was broke down on the side of the road, they would stop and help."...
He says he formed a SWAT team, arming it with surplus military rifles, a Humvee and an armored personnel carrier, before the local sheriff's office had such a unit...
Yates said he could "take my guys and the training they have, the equipment we have, and we could shut this town down" and "completely control everything."
03 August 2013
"To protect and to serve"
An Associated Press article yesterday described the increasing militarization of state and local law enforcement personnel.