Sunday, July 21, 2013

Policing Detroit 2023 - ED Series 209 versus G3.mp4

The latest police vehicle in the fleet - the G3.mp4 - top-of-the-line

Consider the AC/DC lyrics in the above advertisement for the Lenco Bearcat G3.mp4 police vehicle:

I was caught
In the middle of a railroad track 
I looked 'round,
And I knew there was no turning back
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do? 
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you

An omen perhaps of a possible future?

I'm thinking of our LISC friends in Detroit this week as I watch with sadness the news of that city's bankruptcy. On the heels of a number of other Great Recession city bankruptcies, this is the largest in US history.

Just imagine broken police cars with no fuel, employee payrolls empty, acres of abandoned homes! Is there any doubt this is Toffler's hinge in history?  I wonder what future that hinge will open?

Today the Wall Street Journal, that staid fixture not known for radical thought, foreshadowed one future in Risk of the Warrior Cop.

It describes the increasing militarization of American policing. Those familiar with SafeGrowth may remember my blogs on combat policing and warrior cops. Some say my combat cop versus community cop dichotomy is unfair. Both are needed, right?

Maybe. But one wonders why the Cobb County Police require an amphibious military tank? Perhaps "tank" overstates. (How about military-grade, turbo-charged, armored personnel carrier with thermal imaging and tear gas grenade launchers?) Or why does the Richland County Sheriff require, "a machine-gun equipped armored personnel carrier that he nicknamed The Peacemaker."

Fueling this trend, in 2011 the Department of Defense gave away almost $500 million worth of military equipment to police.

Former Kansas City police chief Joseph McNamara warns police militarization is risky and counterproductive. "It's totally contrary to what we think is good policing, which is community policing".

With apologies to Detroit, all this domestic militarization brought to mind a future portrayed in a 1987 film. Then it dawned on me! (Cue sarcastic tone). I know exactly what law enforcement needs... The Enforcement Droid series 209, programmed of course for urban pacification.

If it wasn't so possible, it would be funny.

4 Replies so far - Add your comment

  1. Jon LusherJuly 21, 2013

    It's not a coincidence that RoboCop and Judge Dredd seem to be successful models. One wonders if escalation works from both "sides" in further escalating. Having said that, and having participated in an under-equipped reaction to a neighborhood sniper, one also must support the ability to respond with "reasonable force." The problem is defining that and not escalating the context all the time.

  2. How true, Jonathan. Reasonable force is the key, not escalation. With rational nation states we know armed escalation results in detente. Not so with criminal gangs with their distorted rationality. Better to dig at the roots with tactics like CPTED so we don't have to hack at those branches with grenades.

  3. Good piece Greg. So as Detroit works to address it's bankruptcy the city and it's residents continue to address public safety as the top concern. I'm happy to say that a lot of communities are stepping up to work with police in addressing crime. The biggest challenge I see it that the community groups are strapped for resources just like the police. Neighborhood patrols are struggling to recruit members as the cost of gas seems to always be a barrier. Happy to report that just yesterday (8/22/13) the City of Detroit rolled out it's first wave of new police cars and ambulances as a result of a generous donation from several private sector corporations. The Detroit Police also held a recruitment fair last weekend. With a new Chief in place, changes are occurring-I'm confident for the better.


    Brandon Ivory

  4. Appreciate the update Brandon. Thank goodness there is some good news coming out of Detroit! For awhile it seemed like some kind of cruel payback of negative political mojo from decades-gone-by...

    How ironic that in the motor city one of the biggest stumbling blocks for recruiting is fuel costs for cars! We should have seen that coming!

    Nice to see the private sector stepping up to the plate. I recall our Detroit LISC training years ago and all the exceptional folks who were doing the hard work to make things better. And now there is a new police chief too! Let's hope this signals the first steps to a new beginning.


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