Last week my wife and I were searching for a parking space when we encountered what must be among the ugliest vehicles to be found anywhere, one we would least wish to see on a city street in this country: an armored personnel carrier used to transport the local police department’s SWAT team.
This was just one more example of how our police departments are beefing up on surplus military equipment. Underscoring this trend is a current candidate running for Stanislaus County Sheriff, a graduate of West Point who is “prepared to lead.”
All this leads one to ask if we are becoming a police state? Have we already? One question we need to ask ourselves, one which might shed light on the matter is this: “When did running from the police become a capital offense?”
I don’t remember this ever being legislated into our criminal code. Are we really OK with authorizing officers to serve as judge, jury and executioner when encountering such an offense? Perhaps it is time to cause the police to become more neighborhood centric, to become once again a force designed to “serve and protect.”
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William Bishop, Modesto