Some 43 percent of the police departments in Kraska’s survey told him they had used active-duty military personnel to train the SWAT team when it was first started, and 46 percent were training on a regular basis “with active-duty military experts in special operations,” usually the Army Rangers or Navy Seals. This was the goal of the joint task forces set up during the Bush administration—to encourage cooperation between local police, federal police, and the military in order to foster a battlefield approach to drug enforcement.
In the September 2011 issue of Tactical Edge magazine, Ed Sanow, a SWAT leader in Benton County, Indiana, and a well-published author and consultant on police tactics, suggests doing exactly that—practicing SWAT raids on low-level offenders. “Team commanders must raise the profile of their teams,” Sanow writes. “Stay active. Yes, I mean do warrant service and drug raids even if you have to poach the work. First, your team needs the training time under true callout conditions. If all your team does is train, but seldom deploy, you will end up training just to train. You need to train to fight. . . . Make deploying SWAT something that is routine, not something only done after much hand-wringing.”
===Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces (Radley Balko)
Following the display of military hardware and the domestic army of heavily armed police during the Boston Marathon martial law, the American people and the press were laudatory in their praise of the efficiency of the implementation of the citywide shutdown and the security it seemingly brought to a troubled city. A city paralyzed, or so we were told, by two young and inexperienced Chechen brothers with home made devices seeking jihad upon a million people. The people applauded.
During the Ferguson riots and disturbances the heavily armed police with their tactical moving hardware were decried by the media for an unnecessary and inflammatory show of force that transcended the risks. Unlike the performance of the Boston police and Massachusetts state troopers, calls for a review of militarized tactics, the visible display excessive military hardware and the government sponsored surplus distributions were heard not only in the press but in the halls of the nation’s capital.
I felt at the time that there was absolutely no chance, however, that this was a serious effort, none. And time, even as brief as it has been, proves this correct. The militarization of America’s police will not stop. They have become the unconstitutional standing army of the nation. However, the displays in Boston and in Ferguson, once their respective applause and reprobation wafted away, left America and it’s citizens with lasting memories of the images of a militarized police and what were effectively tanks on our streets. We are becoming intentionally inured to the presence of such sights. With time they will become as commonplace as the friendly beat-cop on the street corner once was, only now American’s will live in fear of them.
For those who don’t know, it’s been over five months since the night a SWAT team broke into the house in which we were staying. It was the middle of the night, and even though our minivan with car seats inside was parked in the driveway and our children’s toys were in the yard, the SWAT officers claimed they had no way of knowing there were kids inside. We were staying with relatives and my whole family was sleeping in one room. My husband and I, our three daughters and our baby (nicknamed “Baby Bou Bou”) in his crib.
Dressed like soldiers, they broke down the door. The SWAT officers tossed a flashbang grenade into the room. It landed in Baby Bou Bou’s crib, blowing a hole in his face and chest that took months to heal and covering his entire body with scars.
On Monday, we were devastated and heartbroken by the grand jury’s decision to not charge any of the officers involved in injuring our son. I relive that night every time I hold my son, see my daughters afraid and watch my husband in pain. Bou Bou will be 2 years old next week, and my gift to him will be my continued commitment to demand justice for what was done to him. We will not give up, we will not remain silent – we will continue to fight.