Virginia Gardens, Fl. with a population of less than 2500, has a ‘Bear Cat’ military vehicle. Its steel armor hull incorporates bullet-proof glass windows and can accommodate up to 12 personnel or half of the entire police force. If the police aren’t wearing full combat gear, they can fit the entire City Council too.
The vehicle can negotiate a side slope of 330 degrees and gradient of 600 if it can find one in the flat town. The Bear Cat has a maximum speed of 80 to 90mph and can cover the entire length of the city in 8 seconds or so. At 9 tons, the vehicle weighs more than City Hall. It can utilize its back-up camera or simply crush anything behind it.
The chief says they can use it when people are stranded in their homes due to flooding conditions and need to be evacuated. In the old days we used hip boots.
Are we over compensating or does the U.S. military have way more big combat machines than they can use?
Kara Dansky, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union says she is uncomfortable with these vehicles designed for combat responding to calls in small town America. To her, military-grade equipment has no place in civilian law enforcement and says her research has shown it can actually increase violence.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s office uses a 19-ton, diesel-operated behemoth to serve warrants.
We certainly don’t want to increase violence with the appearance of these war machines, but how can a police force do its job effectively?
Running up to a house in full combat gear, pounding on the door and screaming ‘Police, open up, we have a warrant’ is too scary and to tell the truth, a little ‘pushy’.
Let’s back off here and ‘serve’ the public, not terrorize it needlessly.
Strategy number 1. This is a no brainer. Issue all warrants during Girl Scout Cookie season and dress the officers like girl and boy scout-leaders. Simply walk up to the door holding a box of cookies in plain sight into which a warrant has been secreted. Believe me, the door will open. No replacement factor here. With the prospect of Thin Mints at a discounted price, you make a sale and serve a warrant at the same time.
Strategy number 2, Dress like 7th Day Adventists and serve them on a Sunday. A persistent knock on the door usually does it.
Strategy number 3. Approach the home after school dressed like a local high school band member. Blow a low ‘C’ on the tuba and expect a smiling adult at the door with a couple of bucks for a donation.
Has ‘Protect and Serve’ morphed into ‘Protect and Surge?’