By: Denise Simon,
Clash Daily Contributor
Due to the countless incidents of unrest and destruction in American cities in recent months, police departments across the country have been challenged to restore order. The “Occupier” movement still exists today as well as concocted riots in towns like Ferguson, Seattle and Baltimore. Yet one component is missing from the growing threat conditions and must not be overlooked and that is “soft-targets” as we have seen at the Boston bombing, Garland, Texas and even Moore, Oklahoma. Those locations experienced aggressions and death at the hands of militant Islamists and more are expected as told by James Comey, Director of the FBI.
Law enforcement and the FBI as well as the Department of Homeland Security do not broadcast their work and investigations into cases they have pending while we know without dispute militant terrorists currently in the country are plotting attacks including more destructive bombings which was the case with John Booker in Kansas.
So why would Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduce legislation that further weakens police and first responders to threats that include IED’s, trucks with laden explosives or soft targets that could be rigged with ambush conditions? Sure, there may be extreme cases where providing law enforcement with military gear may be over the top, previous cases often prove their value. Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell spoke this week on the never-ending threat of enemies such as al Qaeda still have the objective and ability to blow planes out of the sky or just as they land at a domestic airport.
WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — The Fraternal Order of Police, the world’s largest organization of law enforcement officers, is objecting to parts of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s bill coordinating federal programs on the use of surplus military equipment and other aid to local police departments.
McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced her bill last week as an answer to police “militarization” claims made in the response to unrest in Ferguson last summer after the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Read more here.
The bill also would bar small police departments, those with fewer than 10 sworn officers, from purchasing more than one military tactical vehicle. Departments with fewer than 35 officers would not able to obtain federal funding for SWAT equipment unless they teamed up with other agencies to form regional SWAT teams. Hotlines would be set up to receive reports from the public on the misuse of funds and equipment, and police departments would have to publish their requests for grant funding for certain equipment, such as tactical vehicles, camouflage, flash bang grenades and weapons over a certain caliber.
Money would be set aside to fund body cameras, dashboard cameras, gun cameras, and to cover the costs of maintenance and storage of footage. And local law enforcement agencies would have to meet additional requirements for training and data collection in order to qualify for federal grants and equipment.
There is some reasonable debate that law enforcement has already been militarized by virtue of Federal money supporting police across the country. Money has power and dictates rules of engagement. On top of that, mayors and governors have the ability through their own executive orders to order up the National Guard to patrol streets in towns where riots and destruction such as Baltimore.
At issue as well is just what does the Department of Defense do with surplus equipment no longer of use in a war theater? If there is no will to have ground operations in locations across the globe to defeat enemies such as al Nusra, Islamic State, Boko Haram or al Qaeda and air power is the tactic of choice then where do MRAP’s go?
In cases beyond domestic terror conditions, what about an earthquake in Texas that may require dynamic use of some of this equipment, or an attack on a power plant that happened a couple of years ago in California? Minneapolis is a hotbed of Somalis that are inspired by Boko Haram and Islamic State – is the Mall of America the next Nairobi mall target that killed 68 people in 2013?
Islamic State has effectively recruited and inspired an unknown quantity of soldiers in America, do you know their future targets? Is law enforcement prepared for those threats? Are you prepared?
DENISE SIMON is the Senior Research/Intelligence Analyst for Foreign and Domestic Policy for Stand Up America US as well as the aide de camp for MAJOR GENERAL PAUL E. VALLELY, US ARMY (ret). Her weekly show delves into the very deep and murky waters of foreign and domestic issues. Each week her guests include high level Intel people, former Flag Officers, DEA, CIA, NSA, etc… You name it… http://majestic.waverstreamer.com:2418