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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Armored vehicle, recently bought by Lawrence police with federal grant, appearing on city streets

August 12, 2013

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The Lawrence Police Department's new armored vehicle has arrived and is ready for use, police officials say. The city bought the bullet-proof vehicle, which is meant to rescue civilians and protect officers in armed confrontations, with a $152,500 Homeland Security grant the city won last year.

The Lawrence Police Department's new armored vehicle has arrived and is ready for use, police officials say. The city bought the bullet-proof vehicle, which is meant to rescue civilians and protect officers in armed confrontations, with a $152,500 Homeland Security grant the city won last year.

The Lawrence Police Department’s newest set of wheels has arrived, and has started making appearances around town.

It’s hard to miss: a shiny new armored truck with bulletproof windows and what looks like a battering ram on the front bumper. Designed for confronting armed criminals and rescuing people exposed to gunfire, this vehicle usually won’t show up in your neighborhood unless something serious is happening.

The price tag is serious, too: $152,500.

The city bought the truck with federal dollars after winning a Homeland Security grant last fall, and Lawrence police received it earlier this year. The department is one of many across the country to take advantage of the federal budget to buy an armored vehicle that the city might not otherwise be able to afford. It started rolling down a city streets a few weeks ago, after police finished detailing it and preparing it for duty.

When the purchase was announced last year, the words “armored vehicle” conjured up for some visions of a militarized police force. But police call it a “rescue vehicle,” and it actually is a customized Ford F-550 with bullet-resistant armor and windows. The armor is supposed to stand up to even high-caliber gunfire, and the underside of the car is built to withstand a bomb blast. The vehicle seats up to 12 people, including the driver.

It’s the protection from bullets that, for police, was the key selling point, according to Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman. In action movies, police often duck behind their patrol cars to seek shelter from a hail of bullets, but that doesn’t work so well in real life.

In the past, Lawrence police have tested out the effect of gunfire on the type of Crown Victoria patrol cars they traditionally used, and the cars did not stand up to the challenge. “The bullets go right through them,” McKinley said. “We were told to do the best we could to keep the engine block between us and whoever was firing.”

While such situations may still be thankfully rare in Lawrence, police often do serve search warrants on violent felons and deal with domestic disturbances that turn into armed standoffs, McKinley said. The department bought the vehicle to make police and victims safer on those occasions and to be prepared for worst-case scenarios that everyone hopes never happen.

Active shooters in schools or an a college campus, hostage crises and natural disasters were all on the list of situations where police would want to have a protective vehicle to rescue wounded people and approach dangerous areas. The city’s grant application for the federal money also suggested that Kansas University might be an attractive target for terrorists, and the Lawrence Police Department would be among the first to respond if such an attack happened.

Several Kansas cities, like others around the country, have sought out armored vehicles, including Wichita, Salina, Junction City and Topeka.

In Topeka, police have been using a different model of armored car since 2009, and police officials call it invaluable. More intimidating than Lawrence’s model, it is a black, tank-like machine with a gun turret on the roof. It sees frequent use in potentially violent police business in Topeka, Capt. Scott Conklin said, and he’s glad his department has it.

“Even if you deploy it about 12 times a year, and you save one life over 10 years, what’s the value?” Conklin said. “What’s one life worth?”

The purchase of the armored vehicle for the Lawrence department is unrelated to the separate purchase, with city money, of a $58,604 custom van, McKinley said. That vehicle, which is on order, has no armor protection and is intended replace a 1998 Dodge that police have used to serve arrest warrants. The Dodge needed to be replaced because it increasingly failed to start when needed.

Comments

IndusRiver 8 months ago

Given thre National Security Agency's unauthorized breeches into privacy - well into the thousands of cases - and false accusations of terrorism country-wide, and cops who aren't necessarily sure who exactly they are supposed to be, or what country they're in, I hope our "allies" come to our aid.

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nomansland 8 months ago

This might've been good for Lawrence during the summer riots in 1970, but not now. Believe it or not, Lawrence was much smaller and more dangerous then.

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James Minor 8 months ago

A used bank truck could have been bought instead, the VanGo students could have done the paint job and the run flat tires could have been bought from the recycling center. The cost savings could have been 100k and went to the police fund or tickets to the KU BBall games.

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CWGOKU 8 months ago

If you put wood paneling on the side, it would like like our family station wagon when I was a kid. It will come in handy for the next Quantril Raid

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webmocker 8 months ago

"“Even if you . . . you save one life over 10 years, what’s the value?” Conklin said. “What’s one life worth?”

Here's one answer to that question. "Take, for example, the $500,000 death benefit the government pays families when a soldier is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan."

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1808049,00.html

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Armored_One 8 months ago

Government waste.

Government waste.

Likelihood of anyone involved with this 'government waste' being voted out of office?

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Charlie Bannister 8 months ago

This is absolutely ridiculous to have a vehicle like this. Just like it is ridiculous for DHS to be buying these things. DHS has an entire fleet of them and has been giving grant money to cities to buy them. What do they know? I think I know exactly what they are thinking, and it does not bode well for America. I'll just leave it right there.

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withchild 8 months ago

an armored, killer clown car.

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reality_check79 8 months ago

Why haven't the angry citizens said a word about where the money came from yet? I don't think anyone really wants an APC rolling through the city but this is not something to freak out about. Here's a few reasons why... Only your federal tax dollars were spent on this so you can blame Obama and his administration (local tax dollars are spent on gas to parade it around town...), unfortunately Lawrence has a drug and crime problem that some people just ignore, and wouldn't it be better to be proactive versus reactive.... If this vehicle saves one life it is worth it! Hopefully we just see it in parades.

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phoglight 8 months ago

Anyone who thinks this is not necessary is not very bright and doesn't live in this world. When some whack job shoots up a local school, or movie theater or university, how do you expect the police do get to the injured? And if you think an ambulance is going up to the front door of a place with an active shooter, you are wrong. Call it whatever you want, but when you need, hopefully we don't, but when you do, it will save the lives of our police or citizens.

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ThePilgrim 8 months ago

It may be able to take military grade rounds in the body of that thing, or even run over a mine, but the tires are still vulnerable.

I agree - militarization of the police.

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oneeye_wilbur 8 months ago

I would pay $10 to ride in it if they take me thru Burrito King.

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none2 8 months ago

One tends to think that Republicans can go wacko over government power in the military, and the police state, then you see a Democratic stronghold such as Lawrence doing the same. No wonder more and more citizens have no respect for their government regardless of who is in power.

The people who saw that tax payers money was spent on this should be ashamed of themselves. All they are doing is encouraging the criminal element to take violence up a notch.

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Food_for_Thought 8 months ago

To those complaining about this being a "waste" of taxpayer money, the Federal government collected approximately $2.52 Trillion in taxes last year. This $152,500 armored car was 0.00000663% of taxpayer dollars collected. There are roughly 314 million people in the US (as of 2012). I can't find a more current figure, but in 2010 (according to the IRS), 88,583,448 individuals who filed a tax return actually had a tax liability. For the sake of simplifying the numbers, lets say that number was 90,000,000. So, of the 90,000,000 individuals who actually paid taxes to the Federal government, $1.37 Trillion was collected. Lets just say that everyone paid in an equal amount (which isn't true, but let's say so for the sake of argument). Since Federal taxes are collected nationwide, every TAXPAYING citizen chipped in $0.00169 to pay for this "waste". Rounded up, that's 2/10 of a cent per TAXPAYER (people who actually fiscally CONTRIBUTE to our government). You think $152,500 is a waste of taxpayer money because it offers protection to a city that hasn't seen an officer death in many decades? Well, with that logic, perhaps we should do away with Lawrence PD's bulletproof vests and handguns, seeing how there's no concern that they risk their lives daily and face the potential of a lethal encounter. I wonder if the same people who think $152,500 of Federal money is a "waste" of taxpayer dollars for an armored vehicle also think that $18 Million (which could buy 118 armored cars!) for a library / metered parking garage is a "waste" of LAWRENCE taxpayer dollars? Or perhaps the $24 Million Rec Center (which could buy 157 armored cars)?

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mdlund0 8 months ago

Spending like this should be done based on a demonstrated need, not on hypotheticals. Show me the life that was lost but could have been saved in the past 10 years with this monstrosity. I'll bet there isn't one, which means we are spending tax dollars based on unjustified fears planted in our minds by a greedy, overzealous police department. What's next? A tank? Anti-aircraft guns circling the city? Reaper drones? Oh, I know... a $20+ million dollar police facility with a variable environment indoor training center. Lawrence has had one murder in the past 5 years, show me where the need is.

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Missingit 8 months, 1 week ago

Lastly, I see 2 whole comments about a $250,000 dollar grant to get a visiting author to the homeless shelter north, err Library. Where is the indignation there?? Why do we need authors to speak in Lawrence at that cost?? what a waste? Is the 50 Shades of Gray author coming? J.K. Rowling??

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Missingit 8 months, 1 week ago

Perhaps it wins this grant from being on I-70 with a population over 80,000. Perhaps it wins this grant with the large infusion of students every year. What is a smarter purpose then saving a public servants and citizens life???

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KU_Comet 8 months, 1 week ago

$152,000 for the 4th of July parade addition in Lawrence. And how does Lawrence 'win' this grant too? Certainly not from the 'Occupy Lawrence' disruption last year and all of it's 6 occupants. Perhaps Chicago needs this but Lawrence? I didn't think high-caliber gunfire and bomb blasts were part of the town still. Amazing...that money certainly could be used for better and smarter purposes.

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Patricia Davis 8 months, 1 week ago

The perfect use for this would have been when former Chief Olin went out to shoot up his neighborhood.Man, he would have loved this thing. It is really a stupid thing for Lawrence.

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optimist 8 months, 1 week ago

Law enforcement is becoming too militaristic. If they want to dress up and arm themselves like soldiers then they should join the military and fight bad guys with big guns and other weapons. The current attitude toward policing is inconsistent with American liberty. I for one do not buy into the conspiracy theory of a centralized tyranny. I am concerned however at the absolute corruptibility of power. Law enforcement officers are granted extensive authority and with that authority should come a high expectation by the citizenry that law enforcement will be held to a higher standard of conduct in their performance of their duties and a high standard in their personal lives. There can not be too much oversight.

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Brock Masters 8 months, 1 week ago

There is a disconnect between what Joe Biden and others tell us about criminals and what the police, by their actions, tell us.

Joe tells us that criminals are not so dangerous. All you need for protection from them is a double barrel shotgun. You don't even need to confront them, but instead discharge it from your porch and they will run away.

However, the police paint a very different picture of the criminal element lurking our cities. The criminal element is so dangerous that the police must be equipped with military weapons, body armor and vehicles even when they are dealing with one wounded criminal hiding in a boat.

So which is it? Is only a shotgun needed to defend against criminals or do we need mini- armies?

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toe 8 months, 1 week ago

Policing used to be about serving the public. No more. They serve the government and the security industrial complex. As this has occurred, the police have begun to act like an armed criminal organization. Shaking downs, payoffs, and politics are now a routine part of policing. The taxpayer has been duped into "needing" protection. But, the real protection needed is from government, of which the police force is the muscle. Too bad. I've known a lot of good police officers over the years that have retired and want nothing to do with modern police work. We imported more than rocket technology from the Nazi's after WW2.

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KURocks 8 months, 1 week ago

Must be expecting a doubling of "Occupy Lawrence" at the park this year

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jayhawklawrence 8 months, 1 week ago

This vehicle can save lives, particularly those of our law enforcement community. If it can save one life, it pays for itself.

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jayhawklawrence 8 months, 1 week ago

We should probably expect that terrorists are looking at the Heartland for potential targets.

Let's hope we never have to use this but I think it is now important to have something like this in your arsenal.

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mdlund0 8 months, 1 week ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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consumer1 8 months, 1 week ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Pheps 8 months, 1 week ago

Will I now have a fourth option on my 911 call? Ambulance. Police car. Fire truck. Or Armored Vehicle?

"yes ma'am. Could you send me the armored vehicle please"

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Dan Blomgren 8 months, 1 week ago

Why do we need this? What a total waste of money. So does it sit in a garage all day and gets pulled out when we have a serious event or does it roam the streets deterring crime? Either way its a joke! It will end up being a $150,000 prop the police dept will show to school kids on 'grow up and be a cop' day. If I were the police dept I would have requested a $150,000 Ferrari claiming I could escape even faster. At least that way you could ride around in style and turn the heads of a few college girls. More waste from the federal government that's all this ends up being.

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Missingit 8 months, 1 week ago

waste of money? perhaps when the police rolled up on the guy in the county with 25 pounds of meth, most likely produced in Mexico, which leads me to believe someone has at least a connection to Mexican drug cartels, the police could roll up to the door on bicycles or some other safer mode of transport. if 1 police officer does not get shot then the entire community is better off .

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kernal 8 months, 1 week ago

Evidently, the police departments in Johnson County got tired of Lawrence requesting their armoured vehicles for KU football games. Have none of you noticed them coming down K-10 for our home games the last few years?

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Curveball 8 months, 1 week ago

I think the campus police need to get one. You could put little Jayhawk decals on it.

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Armored_One 8 months, 1 week ago

I suppose that it is completely pointless to mention that gang traffic, as well as drug trafficking, are on the rise in this quadrant of the state. I-35 and I-70 are two of the biggest, most well-known drug corridors in this country, if not the biggest, and they cross over each other, more or less, less than an hour's drive from here.

I suppose no one has noticed the half dozen MS-13 marked bangers that have been roaming around downtown the last six months, or so.

There are a great number of things going on that, taken individually, don't truly amount to much, but added all together paint a fairly nasty direction for this part of Kansas. I'd rather the city have it and not need it rather than vice versa.

I mean, isn't that the basic concept being conceal and carry? Better to have the gun and not needed than vice versa? Why is it acceptable to arm the populace at large and not protect those that are paid to step in when the fan gets really nasty, so to speak. There has been, historically, much more egregious wastes/uses of federal money.

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Scott Morgan 8 months, 1 week ago

Who is the Grant guy who gives so much money all the time? Whoever he or she is, at least it's not tax monies.

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patkindle 8 months, 1 week ago

unless it is on the road 24/7 they will have to build a storage area when they build the new police hq

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To Sides 8 months, 1 week ago

Doesn't the concealed carry law get rid of the need for this? Isn't there plenty of citizens signing up to protect us already?

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getajob 8 months, 1 week ago

And it won't be the last one they get.. Things are changing in our county and they are preparing when It gets bad, and it will.!

0

Liberal 8 months, 1 week ago

Nice to see our wasted tax dollars in action.

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july241983 8 months, 1 week ago

Meanwhile federal employees are taking furloughs ...

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hitme 8 months, 1 week ago

This will make a nice vehicle to control the drones from

2

average 8 months, 1 week ago

Dispensing MIPs... in style, baybee!

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smileydog 8 months, 1 week ago

We need to get acclimated to this type of vehicle, so when our police start carrying machine guns, it won't seem like such a big deal. This is probably the first of many. When there's Abrams tanks rolling through the streets is when we should all be concerned, if having cops with machine guns doesn't do it first. Of course, when the tanks come, they will take our guns. It's a gradual progression.

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mrjcg2 8 months, 1 week ago

Or.. it would make a really nice lunch/ food truck. No soup for you!!!

3

oneeye_wilbur 8 months, 1 week ago

Put in the art to go parade with 20 cops dressed as keystone cops.

Maybe use it for visiting dignataries, does it have a top that is open for homecoming parades.

BUT it does hold 20 , so it is big enough for city and county bigwigs to haul to the pokey.

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Jason Bowers-Chaika 8 months, 1 week ago

For as little action as this Armored Car will get why the hell didn't they buy a used bank truck?

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James Minor 8 months, 1 week ago

Why not a armored mini-cooper they can hold up to 20 cops?

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grammaddy 8 months, 1 week ago

This is why we can't have nice things.

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Don Brennaman 8 months, 1 week ago

and the governor blocks federal funds at will

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ejg91780 8 months, 1 week ago

Purchases like this are the reason why our federal government is so far in debt.

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costello 8 months, 1 week ago

For God's sake! Why do we need this?

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Pheps 8 months, 1 week ago

What if there is more than one battlefield in town that needs the armoured attack vehicle? Who gets the protection first? A three pronged attack will leave some residents defenseless.

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somebodynew 8 months, 1 week ago

Good to see they are still good at manipulating the media and the public to hide things in public. :)

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kansas_cynic 8 months, 1 week ago

Are they going to use it to break up all the drunken frat parties?

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dinglesmith 8 months, 1 week ago

This is just silly. An armored vehicle patrolling the streets of Lawrence. I suppose it will be useful enforcing the fireworks ban...

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simpleton 8 months, 1 week ago

Droopy said it best: "You know what? That makes me mad."

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Keith 8 months, 1 week ago

Now that they have it, they'll find all sorts of reasons to use it. Frat parties beware!

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WilburM 8 months, 1 week ago

This is so wrong in so many ways that it defies description. A dangerous toy at best, destructive pork-barrel for sure. If you have this weapon, you'll use it for sure. Depressing use of fed funds.

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patkindle 8 months, 1 week ago

don't you love it when all that wasted pork barrel money comes back home?? we should be proud

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shleppy 8 months, 1 week ago

it says rescue vehicle. an ambulance is a rescue vehicle. this is an assault vehicle. its hard to rescue someone through one of those little gun ports.

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jack22 8 months, 1 week ago

That thing looks beefy, it must use a ton of gas. I'm sure some of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan wish they had a vehicle like that. Did KC and Topeka get one, too? I don't see the need for having one as being so great in Larryville.

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Richard Heckler 8 months, 1 week ago

PROOF the crime rate is rising in Lawrence,Kansas at an alarming rate.

Reckless growth brings on increased crime just like in the big cities. Yet the big city mongers will never stop.

The movers and shakers must believe this monster high dollar vehicle will attract new home buyers.

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smitty 8 months, 1 week ago

Rise of the Warrior Cop Is it time to reconsider the militarization of American policing?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

The new century brought the war on terror and, with it, new rationales and new resources for militarizing police forces. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Department of Homeland Security has handed out $35 billion in grants since its creation in 2002, with much of the money going to purchase military gear such as armored personnel carriers. In 2011 alone, a Pentagon program for bolstering the capabilities of local law enforcement gave away $500 million of equipment, an all-time high.

The past decade also has seen an alarming degree of mission creep for U.S. SWAT teams....

.....Unfortunately, the activities of aggressive, heavily armed SWAT units often result in needless bloodshed: Innocent bystanders have lost their lives and so, too, have police officers who were thought to be assailants and were fired on, ...

...What would it take to dial back such excessive police measures? The obvious place to start would be ending the federal grants that encourage police forces to acquire gear that is more appropriate for the battlefield. Beyond that, it is crucial to change the culture of militarization in American law enforcement.

Consider today's police recruitment videos (widely available on YouTube), which often feature cops rappelling from helicopters, shooting big guns, kicking down doors and tackling suspects. Such campaigns embody an American policing culture that has become too isolated, confrontational and militaristic, and they tend to attract recruits for the wrong reasons....

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