With people becoming increasingly uneasy about the militarization of their local police forces, police in one Wisconsin town were forced to reassure their residents that the military assault vehicle they had acquired won’t be used to fire on the citizens of the town.
The Neenah Police Department recently took possession of a mine-resistant Caiman all-terrain vehicle through the Department of Defense’s excess property program that gave departments the same armored vehicles used overseas by the military.
According to the Associated Press, the police are attempting to downplay the need for the vehicles by claiming they’re necessary for protecting cops from high powered gunfire during violent confrontations. However the vehicles will “increase operational and maintenance costs for the area’s taxpayers,” according to Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson.
Neenah’s SWAT team leader, Lt. Jeff Malcore, even went as far as explaining that the gun turret had been removed from the vehicle so it couldn’t be used for firing at the citizens.
“We have no ability to shoot out of it,” Malcore said. “All it does is allow us to get from one place to another so we can deploy our people, or if there’s firing coming in, we can back up to a window or something to get people out.”
However no matter how hard they try to be reassuring, people still remain suspicious of the militarization of law enforcement. Especially with more and more Americans being labeled as “domestic terrorists” and a police sergeant from Morgan County, Indiana claiming that the militarization was to deal with veterans returning home that are viewed as volatile and a threat.
Many have also speculated that the police becoming more heavily armed is because the government is preparing for massive civil unrest and won’t be able to use the military on its own people. Former Marine Colonel Peter Martino expressed those very concerns at a Concord City Council meeting last year after the police there acquired a Bearcat MRAP, saying that the Department of Homeland Security was working with law enforcement to build a “domestic army” due to the government’s fear of the people.
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