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Bexar County Police, Constable Precinct 3
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Monthly Newsletter February 2016
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The Myth of Police Militarization and the Reality of Criminal and Criminal Organizations Becoming Militarized.  The Police are part of our Community, not an Occupying Force.

 

U.S. police are our neighbors, fathers, brothers, sons and friends of each of us in a community.  The media and race baiters attempts to separate our community ties are morally and actually wrong.

 

“Gang members armed with high powered weapons and knowledge and expertise acquired from employment in law enforcement, corrections or the military may pose an increasing nationwide threat, as they may employ these tactics and weapons against law enforcement, rival gang members, and civilians”.

 

‘…prison gang members, already an ideal target audience for radicalization, may expand their associations with foreign gang members or radical criminal organization, both inside correctional institutions and in the community upon their release.”

 

The increasing mischaracterization of the militarization of the police by the popular news media seriously underestimates the role in which law enforcement works or can expect to work in the future. It is plain most have never served in the U.S. Military or worn the uniform of a law enforcement professional based on their unreasonable theories of how the professionals should do their jobs, as they analyze police actions for hours by video replay from their comfortable studios.  Officers under fire or attack make decisions in seconds if they are that lucky, and the thought process is more from past training and preparation.  To ponder a decision for minutes or an hour may end their lives or those they are sworn to protect.

 

Policing in a county with insecure borders, a lack of effective tracking of visa overstays, U.S. and western passport holders radicalized and actively training and fighting with ISIS and others,  and the increased radicalization of Americans by criminal organizations or radical religious groups such as ISIS or others acting under the banner of Radical Islam or violent tactically trained criminals, requires the ability to police both Mayberry and the ability to function in policing a homeland warzone and respond to military tactics or terror tactics that can be employed by criminal or terror organizations; both are necessary to train for and be prepared by the nations police forces.

 

It is not enough to handle the “run of the mill” crimes and threats that face law abiding citizens and for police officers; we now must be prepare to police under a wide range of threats and to do less, shortchanges and leaves the residents we serve under protected.  This would be negligence on the part of any police agency. Often, the focus of terror is on government officials or the police;  if they can be suppressed or made ineffective, the public is at far greater risk.  This has been the pattern over the past 20 years worldwide.

 

Law enforcement by definition and history are derived from military units and are organized and described as paramilitary in nature.  While the goals of policing is primarily the protection of the citizens we serve, officers must also protect themselves as to remain an effective deterrence and response force to those residents we have sworn to serve.  Since the earliest days of police organizations, they have been paramilitary in nature and in the earliest times were armed similar to the military that established them as a policing entity, going back to Roman times.

 

A distinction is made between military objectives and police objectives in the former have as goal, the degradation of an opposing military force to render them ineffective or eliminate them as a threat.  They operate under international conventions and specific rules of engagement, which in some areas differ from law enforcement rules of engagement, but with significant common ground.

 

Police operate under guidelines evolved from the more historical common crimes but with the increase of Active Shooter situations and the specter of terror attacks similar to those that occurred in Mumbai, Nairobi and others both police tactics and law on the use of force have evolved. Both may use deadly force to end an attack on themselves or a third party which can result in serious bodily injury or death or in some cases, that occurred previously and a future threat exists such as an active shooter situation.

The traditional role must change to include the capacity for a more sophisticated response that includes a wider range of weapons and tactical training to defeat a military experienced based criminal organization or terror organization seeking out the soft targets here in America.  Federalization is the wrong response, as in every dictatorship, centralizing the police was an essential step and keeping local oversight and the exercise of police powers by even the smallest communities, still best serves that community.

 

A point to remember is the U.S. Military is barred from direct action within the U.S. and in a law enforcement role and the first responders nationwide to an armed incident are local, state and sometimes Federal law enforcement personnel.  The police must train in small unit tactics not if, but when they must use them.  An early example was the North Hollywood Bank Robbery back in 1997 when two well-armed individuals, using military type weapons and tactics engaged law enforcement in a 44 minute running gun battle where over 1400 rounds of ammunition were expended by both the criminal attackers and the police.

 

In Mumbai, India in 2008, twenty-four radicalized men staged a series of attacks with small arms and explosives that lasted four days leaving 164 people dead.  In Nairobi, Kenya, the Westgate Mall was attacked by four men killing 67 persons.  What are common to these attacks were the tactics and soft target chosen.

 

NGIC reporting indicates that incarcerated gang members in some jurisdictions are adopting radical religious views in prison.

 

Police agencies are directed to reduce, respond and contain disruption and criminal activities.  The range of these activities has evolved as our society changes and the sophistication of both criminal and radical elements increase and present are ever increasing threat to both large cities and small town USA, changing the way we train our police for these vesting differing threats.  The difference is policing in a peacetime setting versus policing a war zone type environment, when radical elements become active on U.S. soil or as criminal organizations increasing use military type weapons and tactics against citizens and law enforcement. They get this training by having served in the U.S. Military or by being trained or infiltrating law enforcement organizations.

 

NIG reporting indicates that gang members in at least 72 jurisdictions have compromised or corrupted judicial, law enforcement or correctional staff within the past three years.

 

Outnumbered and often outgunned:  For example, Bexar County gang activities there are an estimated 3400 to 6800 street and prison gang members on the streets or 2-4 per thousand residents.   In addition some 58,000 foreign students overstayed their student visas last year nationwide with some 6000 of those being of special concern to ICE who are actively looking for them. 

 

The average officer carries a .40 cal handgun with an effective range of 60 yards but under stress, most officers would have difficulty getting hits at 30 feet.  Rarely do they have long guns with them, except specialized units.  The effective range for an AR-15 with iron sights is easily 500 plus yards.  He or she wears soft body armor that is ineffective for rifle rounds, their vehicles are the same as the ones the civilian market drives and are easily disabled by rifle fire, fire bombs or explosives and provide little protection for a responding officer.  By the way, criminal organizations and terror groups have no similar rules of engagement designed to protect innocents and are NOT concerned with bystanders as the police are and they most likely choose the time and location of their attack.

 

In America, our freedom of movement, personal civil liberties and culture leave open the numerous soft targets in our County.  Schools, areas of mass gatherings such as sports stadiums, churches and business areas, highways, music and entertainment venues and urban areas right up to the fence lines of most U.S. airports are common.  With standard sporting type weapons, smuggled military ordinance or illegally converted or manufactured weapons, each of these targets have easily exploited vulnerabilities in any city or town in America.  When 911 gets the call, it is the men and women of law enforcement and other first responders who head towards the danger, equipped with only the training they have had and gear they carry in their vehicles. 

 

In urban insurgency operations overseas, it is the police who are the primary targets and first responders to an incident who respond.  If they are eliminated, what other organization can timely respond?  The news media perhaps but all they can do is document the destruction of loss of life.  A secondary police response or non-federal military forces are long minutes or hours away.  How much more destruction can occur in those minutes or hours? A federal military response is prohibited within the United States and state military forces are hours or days in call-up.

 

One area of criticism is the police are using militarized tactics against U.S. citizens and protestors and from past training, response to civil disorders are usually derived from past military experience in crowd control.  Civil disorders that have an armed element, that use small arms fires onto police ranks and Molotov cocktails demand a different response from peaceful protests and the media cannot make that distinction.  The Dallas sniper murders of five peace officers and the wounding of 6 wounded are examples of officer needing and lacking hard plate ballistic protection, an item that the liberals and those never in harms way, would say is “military grade” but is absolutely necessary in today’s threat environment.  Hard plates and Kevlar helmets are often effective against rife fire, soft armor is not protection against high speed ballistic threats.

 

Every event provides for new techniques for law enforcement and law enforcement learns with each new event and then trains, based on its budget and the political will of its civilian oversight, in better techniques. 

 

Not being prepared to police under any set of foreseeable circumstances,  is negligence on the part of police administrators and the government entities that employ them.  We are obligated to protect and function in the small town peaceful community as well as when that town is subject to military assault assault tactics used by criminals or terrorists, regardless of the criminals race, culture or religious beliefs.  Law enforcement never seeks violence nor does it initiate violence it as the statistics of over 900,000 plus law enforcement professionals in the U.S. clearly shows.  It is only the biased and reckless portrayal of isolated rogue officer actions or negligent errors that are reported and these reports have a district racial bias and inflammatory intent, not just “reporting” the facts.  The rush by nearsighted and self-serving politicians from the Governor of Minnesota, to the executive offices of the United states and down to state and local pundits, who fan racial intolerance and fuel the war against the police.

 

Taking no action or not being prepared or leaving the streets in control of a criminal, a mob or street gang is rarely the option political leaders will choose and then after the fact,  without a one step in a first responders boot, they make knee jerk decisions and subject those they ask for protection the enemy by making them the convenient fodder for their political gain. The arrival of predatory news media or race baiters provides exactly what the disruptive crowd wants and a single or several events involving crowd control or a use of force event,  should not be the measure of what equipment and training a police force needs.  It will not always be a media event, it may be that organized criminal or radical religious group taking advantage of a peaceful protest or in generating an ambush and slaughter of innocents for their own purposes that men and women of reason will never understand. 

 

When that occurs, the citizens will want police who are equipped and trained to protect them under circumstances that most active duty police officers “never signed up for” and have not been trained or properly equipped to respond. With that said, they will still respond.

 

If law enforcement is defeated in a  first response due to a lack of political or local support, training or a lack of proper equipment,  who then stands in the path of danger between these ruthless groups and our families?  

Gun Control- Two Indisputable Facts

1.        America should learn its lesson on mass shootings.  Of U.S. shootings, 92%
were in “Gun Free” zones.  In Europe were gun confiscation is used, all mass
shootings were in “gun free” zones. Criminals violate every gun law written and it
deters few if any;  law abiding citizens do not.  Murder is against all state laws and
federal law.  Laws against carrying weapons and other laws did not deter these
shootings.  The problem is never the inanimate object, the gun, it is always the
persons pulling the trigger.
2.        Good guys with guns deter or minimize the human losses in these cases.  An
armed citizen with a concealed carry or armed  police/security forces minimize or
limit the damage these individuals cause.

If we concentrated our efforts on the more likely causes of death by the media and
safety providers, we would all be better off reducing  car crashes, DWI, heart
disease, suicides and poisoning by prescriptions drugs, we would be far better off.

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© Bexar County Police, Constable Precinct 3 Pd. Pol. Add by Mark Vojvodich