In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Enveloped.”
What kind of equipment does the police department own in your town?
Wrapped in MRAP
Remember back in 2013 or so? Reports were just surfacing that the U.S. military was giving away extra equipment to police departments and campus security offices. In my state, $11 million in surplus equipment was handed out to fifty law enforcement agencies, including several in our county. The program was part of the counterterrorism strategy set in place after Sept. 11, 2001.
Lane County, Oregon, is not exactly a haven for terrorists.
While in college, I visited Romania, when the country was run by the communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaucescu. What a shock to visit a country where airports and government buildings were ringed by soldiers toting automatic weapons.
Yet, here we are.
It took tragedies to raise awareness, but the spirit of protest is alive and well.
In response to public pressure, this week President Obama banned the federal government from providing armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft , firearms and ammunition of .50-caliber or higher, grenade launchers, bayonets and camouflage uniforms to police.
To qualify for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles (MRAPs), drones or battering rams, law enforcement agencies will have to explain why they are needed, how they will be used, and how officers who use them will be trained.
We are far from recovering from September 11, 2001. The first response — to envelope ourselves in weaponry — will haunt us, perhaps for as long as we are a country. Still, we made progress this week. Maybe we’ll find our way out of the deep freeze.
Does your state college have a mine-resistant vehicle? What do you think about the federal program to give surplus equipment to local law enforcement?