Police militarization continues to be a controversial topic.
Liberals and libertarians contend that armored vehicles, rocket launchers, and other tools indicate a troubling trend whereby the state can create the impression that it considers the citizenry an ever-present security threat.
But many law enforcement officials and others say the military gear and vehicles are necessary to keep cops safe when they perform dangerous tasks like serving high-risk warrants, stand offs with armed suspects, and other emergencies.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said during a speech in Camden, New Jersey, yesterday.
“It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message,” he said.
“There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred,” Obama has said in the past.
Needless to say, the law enforcement community has a lot of hostility towards the Obama White House and suggests the move to restrict military equipment and vehicles is pure politics and will likely out police officers at risk.
David A. Clarke Jr., the sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin and something of a “rock star” in conservative circles suggested that the President doesn’t understand the nuts and bolts of public safety operations because he’s from the “academic elite.”
“He is from that academic elite,” Sheriff Clarke said. “They sit in those ivory towers not understanding what goes on at ground level in these often difficult situations.”