Letters to the Editor

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POLICE: What’s with the militarization?

Letter by Lawrence H. Smith, University Place on June 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm | 14 Comments »
June 9, 2011 3:08 pm

Recently in Stockton, Calif., Kenneth Wright’s home was invaded by the local SWAT team. He was detained for six hours in front of his home, in a police car, handcuffed and in his underwear. His alleged crime was that his estranged wife (who lives elsewhere) defaulted on her student loan.

It seems the Department of Education engaged the local SWAT team to invade Wright’s home to look for his deadbeat ex-wife. That’s just another good reason to get rid of the Department of Education, but it’s not the point of my comments.

We see more and more SWAT actions in the news these days, and the police are now thinking of themselves as some sort of paramilitary organization. They’re even dressing the part. Just check out the morning coffee crowd at Forza on 27th and Bridgeport Way. The University Place police officers dress in black fatigues with bloused boots. They look like members of a Panzer tank crew rather than police officers.

It’s time for the police to stop thinking of themselves as being part of the military. They are civilians just like the rest of us ordinary folks. The military folks are those guys and gals out at Joint Base Lewis-McChord walking around in BDUs and flight suits. By wearing military-style clothing and accoutrements, the police are dishonoring those of us who wore the uniform of this country.

Some advice to the police: a little less Rambo and a little more Andy of Mayberry, please.

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