“The increasing use of military equipment, weapons, and tactics against our own citizens is unacceptable and must stop.”
said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran of two tours of duty in the Middle East and a captain in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.
“The military-style response of the Ferguson, Missouri police is but the latest of numerous such incidents across America.”
This militarization of local police includes heavy equipment like armored personnel carriers and automatic weapons, as well as the now common practice of using heavily armed SWAT teams for even the most common law enforcement purposes. In 2005, the most recent year for which data has been collected, there were around 50,000 SWAT raids. The number has certainly increased since then.
“It is alarming to see small towns of America encroached upon with assault weapons, militarized vehicles, tear gas, and other military gear intended for use against enemy combatants, not against our own citizens. Our local police forces are meant to be serving and protecting the people in our local communities-not treating them as the enemy.”
Historically, Americans have joined law enforcement because of their desire to serve and protect their communities-not play soldiers. However, this could change with the increased militarization of our police.
“The increased militarization of police action around the country is all the more troublesome when coupled with recent revelations exposing the NSA’s use of massive, invasive surveillance programs on innocent Americans. I will work to pass legislation to stop the use of military force against our citizens.”