When the cops lost all respect

It was back when they first developed SWAT teams and started dressing military style and carrying auto rifles and driving tanks. Like this one. You might think all that armor and extra firepower made them more formidable. They thought so.  Some of them still do. What it really did was make them contemptible, just like the fascist police in the dictatorships. It is, as rare reader jdallen says, the mark of a government that is afraid of its citizens. And they return the favor by distrusting the government. As they should.

Via Mouth of the Brazos.

UPDATE:  Waco was the most obvious and public manifestation of this problem:  “One of the most significant trends of federal law enforcement in the last fifteen years has been its militarization…and similar trends at the state and local level.”

0 responses to “When the cops lost all respect

  1. I’m no fan of cops as SWAT team members, but I think you may be over-stating things a bit here. Most people don’t hate most cops-nor should they.

    And the problem people have with the government is federal-, (and to a degree state-) policy-driven, and not much related to issues of local law enforcement.

  2. Dick Stanley

    I don’t mean to say that people hate the cops. I don’t hate them. I do try to stay out of their way. I don’t feel that they’re looking out for me so much as they are trying to catch me doing something wrong.

    I do mean to say that many people have lost a lot of respect for them, if not all, since they became quasi-military. They’re supposed to be civilians, not little armies unto themselves. Maybe there’s no problems with local law enforcement where you are, but there are here and elsewhere around the state. Our local cops kill people regularly.

    They also fight transparency at every turn. Journalists encounter that all the time. It gives us a different perspective that is not flattering. Try taking their picture some time. They tolerate journalist cameras because journalists will sue. They won’t tolerate you doing it.

    And I don’t see much distinction between the locals and the state and the feds. They all work together and have more in common than not. The locals all wear American flags on their shoulders, not state flags or city logos. Whatever local distinction they once had has been eroded.

  3. That last paragraph’s a little scary.

  4. Dick Stanley

    I believe the flags on the shoulders started in the late 60s, early 70s as part of the culture wars. It was a political statement with no policy implications. Nowadays, when the feds and locals cooperate pretty closely, it is a bit disquieting. To me, anyhow. You might not know this but one of the proudest moments any local cop can have is the day he graduates from his special course given by the FBI. The courses were intended to make the local flatfeet more professional. It’s done that, but it’s also made them less local.

  5. What beats me especially is how all these quasi-military teams adopted the black face masks. Not clear at all and kind of makes them closer to robbers and other of same ilk.

  6. Dick Stanley

    The piece at the link at the update contends all this started with the drug war. Could be the face masks arose as a means to hide their identity from drug thugs. The whole drug war is a fraud that has done nothing except raise the price of marijuana and cocaine, recreational drugs that are quite common. Still.