PUBLIC SAFETY: Inland agencies favor military gear for police

Posted: May 20, 2015 by gamegetterII in Police state USSA
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Fontana Police Chief Rodney Jones watched Monday as the Rook – the Inland Valley SWAT team’s newest tactical weapon – used a battering ram to punch a hole in the wall of a building during a demonstration.

Other attachments to the tractor-like, bulletproof vehicle that runs on tank tracks could be used to rescue a police officer or lift debris from a building that collapsed in an earthquake.

Thousands of miles away Monday, President Barack Obama announced that the Pentagon would no longer be allowed to transfer some types of military equipment to police departments, in an effort to improve trust between law enforcement and communities.

“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force,” Obama said in an appearance in Camden, N.J., where he praised that city’s community policing. The changes follow criticism over how police departments deployed military-style gear to confront protesters in Ferguson, Mo., and other cities.

Jones said Obama was making a mistake.

“What he did was restrict 15,000 law enforcement agencies the ability to get some equipment that they don’t have the funds to buy,” Jones said.

Smaller departments don’t have officers they can spare to share with drug task forces, Jones said. The departments that make up the task forces share in asset-forfeiture funds – cash seized from drug dealers – that can be used to buy equipment.

****“We’ve heard significantly about the ‘militarizing’ of police departments. I’ve been doing this for 34 years. When we started this job we did not see the type of weapons that we see now. Our officers are confronted with people with hand grenades, with rocket launchers and high-powered weapons. If we’re sending these officers into harm’s way, we are not giving them the proper tools to protect themselves. To the people who say there’s a concept of the militarization of police departments, police departments did not create it (trouble); we’re responding to it,” Jones said.*****

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