Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Militarization of the police - Golden CO Militarization of the police - Golden CO

Recently, I have posted a couple times (see: "Wrong Door - no knock raids" and "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America") about militarization of the police, esp. in response to a Cato study that looked at this. It was brought home to me tonight as I walked behind the police station in Golden, CO tonight. Several officers and a handful of civilians were inspecting a newly arrived armored Humvee sitting parked among their squad cars. It looked scaryL large, black with gold lettering and logo, and with numerous closed gun ports. Just what the city needs.

But this isn't the first time for this sort of thing. About six months ago, I was again walking through their parking lot at shift change, and a couple of officers were walking to their cars, carrying what looked like M-16s by their handles. In response to a comment by me, one of them called them their machine guns - presumably indicating that these were the fully automatic versions surplused from the military in preference to the three shot versions that are apparently now standard issue there.

So, you would think from this that Golden is a crime hot spot and that the police have need for all this fire power and military armaments. But it isn't. Rather, it is a small town with two main industries: the Colorado School of Mines and Coors. Also, at the edge of town is the Jefferson County government complex, including the headquarters for the Sheriff's department, the county jail, etc., all maybe five minutes from the Golden police department, and the JeffCo Sheriff's department has its own, presumably much better trained, SWAT teams - with their assault equipment stored at the Sheriff's office headquarters.

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