Rand Paul Renews Push to Demilitarize Police
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) has been a long-time advocate of demilitarizing America’s law enforcement agencies. In a new op-ed for Reason Magazine, Paul makes the case for new legislation intended to make police into peace officers once again, rather than soldiers in a war on crime.
The key: Paul says it’s curbing a long-standing Pentagon program from giving surplus battlefield weapons and equipment to local departments:
In a free society, citizens should be able to easily distinguish between civilian law enforcement tasked with keeping the peace in our communities and the armed forces tasked with protecting our country from foreign adversaries.
Unfortunately, thanks to the federal government flooding our neighborhoods with billions of dollars of military equipment and property over the years, the line between peace officer and soldier of war has become increasingly blurry.
Police officers have an incredibly difficult and often thankless job where they lay their lives on the line every day. Without the rule of law, a civilized society cannot exist, and our officers deserve our gratitude. The horrific actions of a few bad actors should not erase all the good done by the vast majority of these brave and hardworking men and women.
But as the federal government has enabled our local police to become more and more militarized, it has placed them in greater danger by eroding the community trust crucial to doing their jobs well.
Giving local departments MRAPs and military-grade drones creates an incentive to use them. That incentive turns departments that should be protecting communities into armies intent on occupying them, instead.
Image Credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Rand Paul) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons