BOARD RESOLUTION ON MILITARIZATION OF POLICE
The Board of the Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center passed the following resolution on September 15, 2014
Whereas recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have shown that even small police departments have acquired military hardware such as armored personnel carriers (APCs), grenade launchers, military-style “Fritz helmets,” and camouflage uniforms that are conspicuous shows of authority in built-up areas, and
Whereas Davis, California had acquired an APC and seeks to dispose of it (1) and Saddleback College of Mission Viejo, California has acquired an APC, even though the Campus Police force has 10 or fewer officers (2), and
Whereas the use of SWAT team actions has soared from a few hundred annually in the 1970s to more than 50,000 per year by 2005 (3) and SWAT team use has shifted from hostages, barricades, and active shooters (7 percent of uses as analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union (4)) to routine police tasks such as drug searches and serving search warrants (80 per cent); SWAT teams infrequently find contraband (36 per cent); and often involve forced entry into private residences (65 per cent) and involve risk to innocent people, including children, and
Whereas militarized police can be cut off from their communities rather than be engaged with their communities, as happened in Ferguson, Missouri, and exceed their mission to protect and serve the public, as when battle-clad police in Ferguson fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protestors (5) and also invaded a McDonald’s restaurant to arrest reporters (6), and
Whereas there are far too many police actions resulting in citizen deaths that should result in questioning, arrest, or non-fatal use of force instead.
It is concluded that:
The militarization of police has reached unjustifiable levels,
Militarized police often threaten the public they are to protect and serve, and
The combination of militarized police and pervasive surveillance poses a threat to the civil liberties of Americans.
Therefore, be it resolved that:
The militarization of police needs to be stopped immediately, SWAT team use restored to hostage, barricade, and active shooter situations, and military weapons and equipment returned from police departments to the Federal government for storage or disposal.