The Police started with a serve and protect mindset. Although, it hasn’t aired in decades, the Andy Griffith show featured a sheriff with no gun and a deputy who carried one bullet. The whole premise of the show was a successful police department in a small town in North Carolina. The sheriff never looked to resort to violence and prided himself on serving his community. People thought of the sheriff as a friend and a positive member of the community instead of someone who wrote tickets and was to be feared for his power.
Unfortunately, we’ve reach a new reality with police in the United States. Police are often feared and seen as mafia enforcers for overbearing governments. People have a good mind to fear police as they no longer just carrying a pistol in a average vehicle marked with the police emblem. We have witnessed the militarization of police since 1997 when the National Defense Authorization Act granted the transfer of military products to law enforcement agencies across the country. The country has watched over $5 billion dollars in military equipment be transferred to police departments between 1997 and 2014. Former president Barack Obama signed executive order 13688 to limit certain types of military equipment but President Donald Trump stepped in to allows the transfers once again. What exactly does the militarization of police mean? Well, law officers who once held pistols, shotguns, and average police cars, now possess equipment the military would use when fighting wars. We see police departments with heavily armored vehicles capable of withstanding roadside bombs. What purpose do police departments have with such vehicles? We see infrared gun sights, M-14 and M-16 rifles, bomb disposal robots, night vision goggles, and the previously mentioned heavily armored vehicles. Police are either setting up for war to support unconstitutional laws or setting up for war to support unconstitutional laws. There’s no practical purpose for small town or even major city police to have access to military grade weapons and defense items.
We see an increasingly hostile mindset and god complex coming from members of police departments as they become militarized. Police officers are falling into an unhealthy mindset of lethal force now and forget the questions. We don’t see people being treated fairly or with appropriate force across the country. Most recently, we witnessed George Floyd die at the hands of 4 Minneapolis police officers. He was handcuffed and then pinned to the pavement by 3 police officer of which one used his knee to choke him. Video shows Mr. Floyd repeatedly stating “I can’t breathe” but the officers continue to pin him for minutes as he slowly died from a lack of oxygen. Although Mr. Floyd did originally resist arrest, it is completely unjust for officers to literally choke him to death on the pavements. Former officer Derek Chauvin picture above while murdering Floyd has been charged with his murder but why should it ever come to this point?
Police departments across the United States are often being left unchecked by government leadership. Fellow officers are often supporting those who have committed atrocities against everyday citizens. Police form a buddy club to protect their most misbehaved and violent members. The only real check of police departments is when millions take to the streets to protest and social media becomes consumed with videos of an officer murdering someone without reason. These behaviors aren’t seldom, in fact, we often see police murders far surpassing violent crime rates across the country. Police have been simply left unchecked by anyone but everyday citizens.
If you saw the military role into your town, you’d probably start to freak out. Why are armored vehicles and people with assault rifles patrolling the streets? It sounds like a scene in a movie but in fact it’s been happening for years. Your police department may already own these items. Many have owned military scale weapons and defenses for years. Take a look below at these two pictures. One is military and one is police. Don’t look too different do they? You might see officers patrol town wearing a typical uniform but don’t be mistaken. One trip to their station could have them looking exactly like someone meant and capable of fighting in a war. It’s time to demilitarized police and bring back their mindset to serve and protect.