Well, not if the residents of Keene, New Hampshire get their say, the police department won’t get their own tank…well….not a tank but a
Grumman F8F Lenco Bearcat like the one that’s pictured above that Nashville, TN PD owns.
More than 100 people packed a Feb. 9 meeting of a city council committee, nearly all to oppose equipping the police deaprtment, with about 45 sworn officers, with a Bearcat. One speaker quoted in the Keene Sentinel was Roberta Mastrogiovanni, owner of a newsstand downtown. “It promotes violence,” Mastrogiovanni said. “We should promote more human interaction rather than militarize. I refuse to use money for something this unnecessary when so many people in our community are in need.”
Since the 1990s, the Pentagon has made military equipment available to local police departments for free or at steep discounts. This, along with drug war-related policies, has spurred a trend toward a more militarized domestic police force in America. Law enforcement and elected officials have argued for years that better-armed, high-powered police departments are needed to fight the war on drugs.
I don’t think the Bearcat influences criminals to commit crimes they might otherwise not commit, but I’d like to hear the PD’s justification for purchasing this armored vehicle. It was bought with a $285,933 grant from the Homeland Security Department, so while we’re jacking up healthcare costs for veterans and slashing our national defense capabilities, Homeland Security is handing out armored vehicles t local police departments. I wonder what has happened in Keene lately that justifies this purchase. Have the meth labs been fortified? Deer hunters getting out of control?
There’s a reason that the military can’t operate inside the US and for the same reasons we don’t need a police force that’s armed like the military.