Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Napoleon Dynamite's Bo-Staff Skills Just Aren't Enough Anymore

If you saw the hilarious but weird Napoleon Dynamite, you know where Preston, Idaho is.  You have probably seen most of Preston in that movie.  So what is Preston Police Department getting?  From the October 5, 2013 Idaho Reporter:
Now, nine years later, the movie world of “Napoleon” has come face-to-face with the Preston City Police Department.

That is, Preston Police Chief Ken Geddes a few days ago announced his department’s acquisition of a mine-resistant armor protected vehicle, or an MRAP for short.

“The vehicle comes at no cost to Preston City,” Geddes wrote in an Idaho State Journal column “It is a 2007 model with very low mileage.”

Indeed, the military, which no longer uses the mammoth vehicles following the troop drawdowns in the Middle East after years and years of war, has been handing them out to police agencies across the country. At least four Idaho departments, Boise, Preston, Post Falls and Nampa, received the surplus equipment.
I want to laugh -- but why in the world does a small-town police department like Preston need weapons of war?  Pedro's brothers are getting mortars?


  1. It may be free, but I guarantee it doesn't come with U.S. Army mechanics to maintain it. The citizens of Preston will be paying for that thing for years to come.

  2. So do we, that is the general public, need to be concerned that such exotic equipment and weapons being doled out to city, county, state and federal agencies will be used against all of us to enforce the bigger government and eventual totalitarian state that seems increasingly to be the likely outcome of this new world order?

  3. While I don't think they need an MRAP, it's not a "weapon of war".

    It's an ex-military vehicle - but so is a surplus Hummer.

    It'll have no actual weaponry on it, which makes it not a weapon, as such.

  4. There is a program that allows local law enforcement to pick up surplus military equipment for free. The concept is good but too often the equipment is abused.

    I work for a regional jail. (We can not get items under this program, but we would love some of the cooking equipment that are on surplus as we don't have the budget to replace the stoves/steamers that break beyond repair.) As such, we do have a working relationship with some of the smaller (IE: rural) agencies that we work under. There are places that the Officers/Road Deputies will not go to alone, because they know that they are outgunned or may just "disappear." For some odd reason, in very rural areas you will have spots that the crazies gather or you get a whole clan of dangerous persons. Thus rural areas don't always have the equipment/manpower/training to handle certain issues. Or even worse, the law enforcement does not have actual control of a given county/jurisdiction. (Sometimes the criminals have the upper hand.)

    So, I can see the benefit of getting such equipment as not every agency has ready access to backup. IE: When they need it, they need it ASAP! On the other hand, such equipment should not be used on a raid on a chicken fighting ring or a house where people are playing poker.

    Unfortunately, the abuse of the program could be starting to outweigh the benefit from it.

  5. It is a weapon of war in the same sense that gun control advocates call AR-15s "weapons of war."

    I was not aware that crazies (presumably methed out neo-Nazis sorts) in rural areas are a big problem.

  6. I would not call a number of our local crazies "methed out Neo-Nazi sorts." For the most part, think "Westboro Baptist Church" types who like to shoot.

    In Spotsylvania back in the 90's, there was one dirt road that the deputies would not go down (unless in force) because people down there would start to shoot. There was a family living off one of the tributaries to one of our rivers (Poquoson, Rappahannock, or York) where the families there would take pot shots at the US Coast Guard. Now, those are old incidents in Virginia. (Not going to go into the newer incidents because they are similar and it might be frowned upon for me to write about them.)

    Of course, there are the illegal drug sites. The largest marijuana grow bust ended up with only one arrest (also an illegal immigrant) and the recovery of one corpse. It got a little media but the fact that the arrested subjects family was murdered (they were not in the USA) did not seem to make the news. That's the problem. A lot of the incidents in rural areas do not get media attention, even though they are quite horrible.

    As I teach in academy, we are not paid enough to get hurt or get killed. When needed, that equipment is essential. But I must also admit that my brothers in blue can also use some terrible judgement in their use of force.

  7. Fascinating. I would have thought that if such problems were significant, they would be more common in the western states than in Virginia.

  8. I would not actually claim that they are "more common" in Virginia than other states... Because how can we actually tell? I thought about making this my thesis in grad school, but I ran into so many problems such as defining what I really wanted to measure and also how to identify what I was measuring.

    Think about it. Deputy Hatfield doesn't want to go down the unpaved country road because the McCoy's live down there. Now how is that different than an urban area where the residents complain that law enforcement response can take hours, if at all? And how would I take into consideration an area known to be trapped due to illicit marijuana fields? Oddly enough I've had very little experience with "neo-nazi" enclaves around here, but there are areas where agencies know that officers of a certain race will have an easier time in handling a situation, either white or black.

    Next I'd have to figure out how to get the data for such a project. Most of the info I got was from ride-along's or just because of professional courtesy. There is no database of "areas that LE avoid" or "areas where LE may be outgunned." Honestly, such sites could change quickly depending on social or economic issues. (IE: Home foreclosures.)