The Militarizing of Local Police
Forbes describes the BearCat G3 (nicely equipped at $300,000) as “#1 on Santa’s list for local police departments” this year.
Thank Department of Homeland Security grants of $3 billion per year and drug busts for such extravagant spending by local police departments. Items such as BearCats are deemed “necessary tools” to quality for federal grants (just cite disaster response or crime fighting to ensure they are covered by assorted programs) while federal law says that money from drug seizures can’t be spent on worn-out patrol cars and departmental operating costs, so big-ticket and otherwise cost-prohibitive items become no-brainers.
What is equally mind-boggling is the reality that crime rates have been dropping year-to-year for well over a decade. Los Angeles hasn’t seen so few homicides since the 1960s. So, in justifying purchases like the BearCat, tanks and Predator drones (yep, coming to your neighborhood soon, too) and other equipment designed for battle instead of keeping the peace, law enforcement officials often cite a single instance, say the sniper in Tyler, Texas, last October who killed his neighbor, so the BearCat was brought in, taking at least 35 rounds from an AK-47, until a police sniper took out the gunman.
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