By: Brandi Kay, Georgia Weekly Post
Federal government edict or rational reaction to violent crime and attacks on officers?
Most police officers do allegedly a thankless job with the utmost of talents.
They have to be everything, to everyone, in every situation they are thrust into. Serve and Protect, even when it means putting their life on the line to save another.
For the job they do, many barely make enough to feed a family of four. Many elected officials have reported attempts to outsource law enforcement, but that was thwarted by Georgia State Law.
Many officers say they just want to do their job, to the best of their ability, and go home alive.
▲ Mayor Pittman defended the receipt and use of military hardware by her department. "The equipment obtained by the city has been requested after careful review of the needs of our community. The primary focus has been the protection of our employees as well as the peaceful resolution of dangerous crisis. A side benefit for our community has been the use of equipment to rescue stranded motorists during severe weather events,"she said.
This is the first of several investigative reports. Georgia Weekly Post interviewed law enforcement experts, current and former lawmakers to look into and evaluate these issues.
▲Corrupt politicians used the police for strike breaking and as the enforcement for organized crime. Gradually, the police started focusing on community policing and outreach. The more science and technology expanded, the more professional and accountable law enforcement became.
Police officers face potential danger in and out of uniform. Just being an officer in the U.S. today is putting a bulls-eye on your back.
Thanks to the societal lunatic fringe elements like: Kimland C. McCray (AKA King Noble), Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Ansaru Allah Community (AAC), the Nuwaubian Nation, and the Nation of Islam, violence against individual officers has reached epidemic proportions. Officers face daily recrimination from just doing their job and doing it well.
▲Police officers face potential danger in and out of uniform. Just being an officer in the U.S. today is putting a bulls-eye on your back.
Thugs like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown are heralded as Saints by the President. In Texas, one officer was murdered in his own home. "The public can show support for law enforcement by designating your home a 'safe harbor' with a blue line painted on the curb. This means that you support your local law enforcement and your home is a safe place that an officer in trouble can come," according to Texas resident Anthony Welichko who began the ’Safe Harbor Initiative’.
Professional law enforcement is a relatively recent invention, starting in London in 1829. Sir Robert Peel armed men with bats to patrol the streets of London to basically keep the peace, they were first known as 'peelers'.
Sir Peel opened the office in Whitehall, with the public entrance in the Great Scotland Yard. Scotland Yard was named that because it stood on the site of a medieval palace that had housed Scottish royalty when they were in London.
▲Scotland Yard was named that because it stood on the site of a medieval palace that had housed Scottish royalty when they were in London.
The 'peelers' became known as 'bobbies' (after Sir Robert Peel) and the law enforcement agency became Scotland Yard.
They were a reactionary force to combat disorder in the streets, brought about by urbanization, more than preventing or solving crimes.
By the summer of 1888, Scotland Yard was a full-fledged law enforcement agency with investigators and the latest in forensic technology available at the time.
They would be challenged with a case, that to this day, remains unsolved: Jack the Ripper.
Eleven more murders happened between 1888 and 1891, after the original five, but they could not be conclusively linked.
Beat cops are still known as 'bobbies' and they still are armed with short bats, similar to a PR24.
▲Politics are driving a wedge between the community and the officers. Citizen surveillance and militarization is taking place. recently the Dunwoody Police Force showed off their armored personnel carrier in the Perimeter mall. Two police officers of the City of Dunwoody. a tool facing crimes at the sleepy town of 45,000.
Law enforcement in America was following a similar path. In 1838, Boston became the first city to have an official police force, followed by New York City in 1845, Chicago in 1851, New Orleans and Cincinnati in 1853, Philadelphia in 1855, and Baltimore in 1857. By the end of the 1880's, all major US cities had some form of official law enforcement.
▲ An SUV belonging to Dunwoody's Police force. Crime rate went up according to police report. Many are critical of having an oversize SUV. Some described it as a waste of money, costly to maintain. Becky Springer a candidate for city Councilwoman called for more boots on the grounds.
Her opponont Terry Nall called for less, according to published reports.
An interesting side note about the New York City police officers, they were called "coppers", because they wore eight-sided, copper badges, which became our slang term "cops". During the late 1800's through to the mid-1900's, corruption dominated law enforcement in America.
▲ A sample of a police car used in Europe. Designed by Mitsubishi vs. over sized SUV used by cities such as Sandy Springs, Atlanta, Dunwoody. SUV used by the Dunwoody's police chief comes with a remote engine starter. That was first used by the Mafia!
Corrupt politicians used the police for strike breaking and as the enforcement for organized crime. Gradually, the police started focusing on community policing and outreach. The more science and technology expanded, the more professional and accountable law enforcement became.
▲ Another police car among many close in small sizes used by police forces around Europe. The smallest are found in Italy. London Police is still using that small short fat stick!
Unfortunately, there is a battle of wills going on now.
Politics are driving a wedge between the community and the officers. Citizen surveillance and militarization is taking place.
This is not just an issue of free military hardware being given to communities of all sizes. Uniforms are taking on a more militarized look and function. Training is slowly indoctrinating officers with an "us against them" mentality. But this is not the officers fault, because they are increasingly facing militant elements in more urban areas. It is a catch-22, they are becoming more militarized to protect themselves and innocent citizens, and the more they militarize, the more distrustful of law enforcement citizens become.
The federal government is exacerbating the situation.
There have actually been Congressional hearings where people like director and producer of the CSI franchise, Jerry Bruckheimer were questioned. If these fictional characters could do all these outstanding things on CSI, why couldn't normal law enforcement achieve the same results?
Let that sink in. These are Congressional representatives and they cannot separate facts from fiction. Since most of them have been in office for 20 to 35 years, that means that these people are STILL representing the American people. Add to that, in 2007, Obama campaigned that he was going to establish a national force that would rival the military. Only he has taken it a step further, with the UN and trying to establish a "global" police force, the "Strong Cities Networks".
When troops and equipment were sent back to the US from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense 1033 program was put in place to provide local and state law enforcement with the unneeded hardware for free.
Most cities and counties were responsible and carefully chose what they thought they could actually use. Some departments do need flash grenades and mobile command and communication vehicles. In places where weather can be drastic, some of the heavy machinery is needed. There is nothing wrong with departments taking advantage of military surplus when they act with common sense.
However, there were some departments that this program was like a massive dose of testosterone. MRAPs, drones, blackhawk helicopters, even tanks were up for grabs and grab they did, like kids in a candy store.
It was these cases that mainstream media and late-night talk show hosts and comedians, Jay Leno and John Stewart had a field day over. Towns like Doraville, Dunwoody, Athens, and Evans made Georgia a national media laughingstock.
A sheriff in a town of 400 showing off his newly acquired armored tank or shiny, black MRAP that now serve as the main attraction in every parade. In fact, recently the Dunwoody Police Force showed off their armored personnel carrier in the Perimeter mall.
Former Georgia Republican U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, tried to get legislation passed that would require justification and oversight for the law enforcement agencies that received military surplus hardware.
It was discussed on the floor, but ultimately was rejected. According to Kingston, this legislation would have gone a long way toward preventing abuses of the system. Not only that, but it would have reassured the public and changed public perception overall toward law enforcement in a more positive direction.
It would be wise for Congress to bring that piece of legislation to the floor again for more discussion. Oversight concerning free MRAPs should be a common sense choice, but when dealing with our current lawmakers, common sense is sorely lacking.
Sam Massell, the 53rd Mayor of Atlanta, is mourning the recent passing of his beloved wife. Massell did not consider the militarization of the police to be a problem for Georgia. He and The Buckhead Coalition are advocating for Buckhead to become an independent city, not just a suburb of Atlanta. The Buckhead Coalition is made up of the top 100 CEOs and officials in the state of Georgia, an invitation-only organization that requires $100,000 per year in dues.
Massell and the Coalition are helping to protect officers in a more practical, hands-on way. He advocates the installation of security cameras in communities in and around Atlanta and bulletproof vests for the K9 unit dogs.
One the oldest cities in the state of Georgia is Doraville, with a large population of Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks. It is the cultural center of Taiwan. While Democrat Mayor Donna Pittman, a seasoned politician, was campaigning for re-election, she spoke to Georgia Weekly Post via phone calls and texts.
Pittman, with advice from her Chief of Police, John King, defended the receipt and use of military hardware by her department. "The equipment obtained by the city has been requested after careful review of the needs of our community. The primary focus has been the protection of our employees as well as the peaceful resolution of dangerous crisis. A side benefit for our community has been the use of equipment to rescue stranded motorists during severe weather events,"she said.
When asked about small cities like Doraville receiving equipment like their armored personnel carrier, Pittman responded, "There seems to be an unfair characterization, that because of the size of our community, the city should not take advantage of equipment available by the federal government and should rely on others for the safety of our citizens and our employees. There is no evidence that the equipment used by the city has been improper."
Explaining the perception of the police force and its impact on society? The Mayor said, "We work very hard at having a great relationship with our very diverse community. [We] especially work hard with our local Elementary Schools to give positive role models for our community."
Tom Hart is running for Mayor of Doraville. This is his third race. His chances are better this time, according to supporters.
Asian American groups raised more than $8000 to help his campaign. The former Doraville City Councilman spoke to Georgia weekly Post on a Sunday, while walking his Belguin Malinois.
"The militarization of local police departments become up close and personal when the Doraville "tank" APC made it on the cable and regular TV talk show circuit. Doraville Swat "tank" story gave the city a black eye when it went viral. The tank story was followed up by an internal police video of Swat Training complete with music, teargas, and the APC. The image of the "police state of Doraville" was solidified in the minds of the metro area, nationally and internationally. City hall brought this on themselves. Excuses were made but public pressure got rid of the tank. A former Mall guard - Mayor talking about her law enforcement "career" and using a tank to rescue stranded motorist begs credulity. We have tow trucks and heavy maintenance equipment to "rescue" stranded motorists and a police chief to run the police department." he said.
"The police equipment issue is complex nor is it new. A safe community is paramount but how you get there is the question. Most, if not all safety issues are created by short sighted politicians. Improper zoning, housing, schools, immigration plans, building codes and just poor planning. The safety issue starts in city hall. Open and honest government. City hall makes the bad decisions, takes photos with the police and then want the police to sort out the problems they created. It is a tough job." he added.
"The military personnel/ police personnel issues and roles are only going to get more blurred as the middle eastern conflict continues. What is the responsibility of the national guard vrs local police. Local governments using the police for their personal agenda against businesses and citizens has become a major problem." he said.