Police power

Readers know that I often criticize the editorials published in the Wilmington StarNews. They also know that I will defend views that are right— despite modern liberal social thinking, I believe right and wrong can be distinguishable. Recently, editors rightly argued against wasteful federal spending and improper conversion of our civilian police to military-type forces.

In an editorial titled “Overkill” the StarNews Editorial Board (the publisher and the editorial page editor) questioned our local police in their willingness to take military equipment from the federal government supposedly to improve homeland security. (link)Free is not always good. City and county police have accepted some of the billions of dollars doled out from the feds for “military-style operations.” Helicopters, armored personnel carriers and, recently, a weird robot called “Sheila” are available for our police to play “Army.” That’s not their role.

Editors criticize this as a waste of money and because our civilian police should not be operating as military forces. Our police should serve and protect American citizens at home, the military is trained to break things and kill enemy combatants. American citizens are not the enemy. And we are not in a “war zone,” as editors write.

We will fear and distrust the police if they use military tactics and equipment, e.g. assault teams and armaments. As editors say, our police are civilians— hired to protect us from criminal behavior and to enforce our laws. They must be “approachable and available” or they will not have our trust and confidence. Our elected representatives must constantly remind them of their civic duty and make sure they stay within the bounds of civil law.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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