Since the Michael Brown shooting, and Ferguson, Missouri riots, the militarization of police has been a hot button issue. Several people have commented on the issue in the past two months.
The Inquisitr reported on a few of the commentators that have weighed in on the subject. Among those was CNN Reporter Jake Tapper who reported on the scene.
These are armed police, with — not machine guns — semi-automatic rifles, with batons, with shields, many of them dressed for combat. Now why they’re doing this? I don’t know. Because there is no threat going on here. None that merits this. There is none, okay?
Now, merely two months later, fears have not been quelled with the most recent report out of Los Angeles. The L.A. Unified School District police are being scrutinized because confirmed reports suggest the department has had at least one armored vehicle, and an unspecified amount of grenade launchers in their possession.
CBS LA reports and details the equipment they had tipped been off to, but were not allowed to get the vehicle or other equipment on film.
“The military hardware at the disposal of LAUSD police officers includes a 20-foot-long, 14-ton armored transport vehicles, much like the ones used to move Marines in Iraq combat zones. The armored vehicle is worth $733,000, and the school district’s police force got it from the government for free.”
Both sets of items have been in the police’s possession for some time. The location of the armored vehicle, that has been allegedly housed by police since July, was not made available to reporters because it is stored at a “secret facility.”
According to the school district police, the grenade launchers were given to the police for free by the military after the September 11 attacks. The L.A. school district police allegedly do not plan on keeping the grenade launchers, but will keep the armored vehicle for use only on the “chief’s direct order”, and the school district superintendent’s approval.
According to CBS 10 News, the school district police are mulling over whether to keep the machines at their disposal. The L.A. school district police chief Steve Zipperman said that the vehicle would only be used in “extraordinary circumstances”.
According to CBS LA,The LAUSD police chief seemed to brush off the suggestion that the vehicles were for intimidation or other forms of excessive, militarize police force.
“To suggest that it’s a threatening type of equipment or equipment for a show of force, that is not the case.”
This certainly raises a few questions. Is this the continual rise of police militarization, and for what purpose? Also, how many other local police forces are in possession of such military grade equipment?
What are your thoughts?
[ Image Via Wikimedia Commons ]