Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Dangerous Militarization of Our Local Police Forces

Police departments across the U.S. have a growing collection of toys used by the army.

What a Christmas little Bastrop had! It’s still a mystery how Santa Claus got it down the chimney, but Bastrop got a nifty present that most children could only dream about: A big honkin’, steel-clad, war toy called MRAP

But Bastrop is not a six-year-old child, and an MRAP is not a toy. Bastrop is a Texas county of some 75,000 people, and MRAP stands for “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected.” It’s a heavily-armored military vehicle weighing about 15 tons — one of several versions of fighting machines that have become the hot, must-have playthings of police departments all across the country.

Are the good people of Bastrop facing some imminent terrorist threat that warrants military equipment? No, it’s a very pleasant, laid-back place. And while the county is named for a 19th century land developer and accused embezzler, it’s never been a haven for particularly dangerous criminals — indeed, the relatively few crimes in Bastrop today don’t rise above the level of routine police work.

mrap_vehicle

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