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“Why does Sunrise, Florida have it's own SWAT Team?”

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences.

Originally published at www.paganvigil.com/C127135145/E1579247413

"Why does Sunrise, Florida have it's own SWAT Team?"


The Anthony Diotaiuto killing

Radley Balko is working on something. It certainly got my attention.

Sunrise is a town of 100,000. There were exactly three murders in the city in 2003, the last year for which statistics are available. It's a tourist/retirement area with very little violent crime. So why the SWAT team? The answer comes in a paper I'm working on at the moment, and hope to have out in the next few months. It's because the federal government is showering police departments all over the country with military gear, funding, and combat training if they start up paramilitary units within their forces. Department officials don't want to turn down free stuff (especially cool stuff like armored personnel carriers, grenade launchers, night vision eqiupment, bayonets, and military-grade fully automatic weapons). So they start SWAT teams. The number of SWAT teams soared between 1980 and the mid 1990s, skyrocketed between 1995 and 2000, and has absolutely exploded since 2000. Because towns like Sunrise don't have much violent crime, and don't want SWAT teams to sit idle, they start using them for everyday policing task, like serving drug warrants.

Unintended consequences brought on by a failed Federal policy. Meanwhile people trust the police less and less, for a very good reason.

Mr. Balko also has a thing today on the Army vet deported from Canada on drug charges. It looks like he used the same article I did though.

Posted: Thu - October 13, 2005 at 05:24 PM

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