Saturday, 17 September 2016

Local Police Accept Federal Grants to Expand Surveillance

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The federal government is steadily offering money to local police departments that is making them more beholden to the feds and is also helping to change the character of local law enforcement. Here is just a sampling of reports of congressmen crowing about the awarding of grants by the federal government to police departments nationwide and the next-gen technology and tools cops are buying with the boon.

From Chicago (as reported by WGN-TV on September 8):

The Chicago Police Department will be getting more than $2.3 million in federal funding to purchase equipment and support overtime patrols, Sen. Dick Durbin announced Thursday [September 8].

“The men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line day and night to keep our communities safe,” Durbin said in a news release. “This grant funding will help equip those officers with the best, most up-to-date tools to do their jobs effectively and keep residents safe.”

Durbin had earlier praised the receipt of federal funds by other cities in the Land of Lincoln. The Associated Press reported on August 29:

Three Illinois communities will receive nearly $300,000 in federal grants to help law enforcement and corrections officers.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced Monday [August 29] that the cities of Rockford, Aurora and Decatur will get funds from the Department of Justice.

From Bluefield, West Virginia (as reported by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph on August 17):

A large federal grant will allow a local police department to purchase new radar equipment, West Virginia’s representatives in Washington, D.C. said Tuesday [August 16].

U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va,. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. announced that the Bluefield Police Department has received a grant of more than $22,000 from the U.S. Justice Department.

The $22,237 Byrne JAG grant will be used to buy new radar units for the police department.

From New York (as descirbed in a September 9 press release from the local congressman):

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney announced a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) federal investment of $24,835 for the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department. This federal investment will be used to enhance computer abilities in police vehicles through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG).

Another report of federal funds flowing into New York’s local law enforcement (as reported by WRVO on August 24):

The city of Syracuse has been awarded a grant of more than $100,000 for a pilot police body camera program. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said she hopes the cameras will improve accountability and community relations among police and the public.

Miner said she could see a time when all of Syracuse’s police officers have body cameras. But for right now, she said the grant from the U.S. Department of Justice will allow for just 10 cameras and that is a good start.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, money from Capitol Hill will pay for the city to increase its surveillance of residents, as reported by the Times-Tribune on September 17:

Scranton will put video cameras in several police vehicles and surveillance cameras in some parks.

Separate initiatives involve plans to install video cameras in 14 police patrol vehicles, and 18 surveillance cameras in five parks — Nay Aug, Connell, Connors, Fellows and Rockwell....

The city received in August a $21,000 federal grant to fund most of the $23,280 cost of equipping four additional police vehicles with video cameras. These 14 video cameras will equip nearly half of the department’s 30-vehicles.

Is this money, as the members of Congress who take credit for its being awarded to their constituents claim, being used to make citizens safer by making police dependent on the federal government?

No.

Steadily and speedily, the forces of the militarized police are denying citizens the protections of fundamental civil liberties afforded us by the Bill of Rights. While there remain legions of law-enforcement officers devoted to protecting and serving their fellow citizens, the federal government’s proffer of powerful, free (or almost free), weapons, vehicles, gear, and tactical training is making the allure of becoming an unofficial branch of the armed forces irresistible.

When they are patrolling the streets of their cities, cops these days often look more like soldiers or Darth Vader-esque Imperial Storm Troopers than police, thanks again to the buckets of cash dumped into coffers by Homeland Security. Self-serving bureaucrats inside the U.S. government are tirelessly trying to obliterate local police forces answerable to local citizens and promote the consolidation movement as a step toward nationalization of all law enforcement.

These proponents of regional and national police forces desire nothing less than the eradication of all local police departments and sheriffs’ offices, the surrender of state and municipal sovereignty, and the conversion of cops into federal security agents sworn not to protect and to serve their neighbors, but to protect the prerogatives of politicians, precisely the type of tyrannical symbiosis that our Founders feared would one day obliterate the liberty they sacrificed so much to preserve.

Earlier this month, The New American exposed efforts by globalist billionaire George Soros to accelerate the transformation of local law enforcement from protectors of their neighbors, to enforcers of federal and international edicts:

Billionaire statist George Soros has been helping Obama and globalist forces to federalize control over American police forces under the guise of pushing “criminal justice reform,” hacked e-mails and documents from his shadowy Open Society “philanthropic” empire revealed. From funneling tens of millions to radical activist groups and race-mongers to building what leaked documents refer to as a “national movement” to “reform” law-enforcement and working with the White House to do it, Soros fingerprints can be found all over the growing anti-police chaos that has enveloped U.S. cities in recent years. The agenda is clear: stripping communities of self-government and imposing federal cops.

The Soros plot outlined in Open Society Foundation documents involves, among other elements, helping Obama impose his United Nations-backed “guidelines” and “standards” on American police departments — at least at first. Eventually, the goal is to impose a national police force on America accountable not to local communities, as has traditionally and constitutionally been the case for centuries, but to the increasingly lawless federal executive branch. The implications for freedom and self-government of transferring control over police to the White House are massive.

The question that remains is, how long will Americans accept this militaristic transformation of their local police? Will we idly wait until this trend reaches its logical conclusion — a police state? At that point, the options are reduced either to slavish acceptance of tyranny, or active resistance, which is to invite being the target of all the tactical weaponry, ammunition, and monitoring technology that the federal government acting as a fence for our plundered wealth and property has provided.

From license plate readers to facial recognition software, from surveillance cameras to cellphone signal trackers, the Department of Homeland Security is providing police with all the gadgets, hardware, and software necessary to keep everybody under surveillance, without the targeted public ever realizing that it’s the Capital, not the cops, that is behind the monitoring.

Local police who participate in the program will have access to a shockingly broad array of personal information of citizens. Facial recognition technology, license plate readers, and stop light camera video feeds will all be funneled to a Regional Operations Intelligence Center where FBI, police, and DHS agents can watch the live feeds.

Where the police were once the servants of the people and the law, often these officers wield weapons that are more at home on a battlefield than a boulevard, and they are employing tactics more appropriate to prosecuting a war than serving a warrant.

Surely this vast and rapid militarization and federalization of local law enforcement is the very spirit — and likely the letter — of the establishment of a standing army that our Founders and the republican writers who influenced them regarded as “inconsistent with a free government,” “dangerous to liberty,” and a “grand machine of power and oppression.”

If the threat of the country’s police becoming a full-fledged, unstoppable, and all-powerful standing army of the sort our forefathers knew to be “dangerous to the Constitution” is to be diffused, we, the people, must indeed take our country back. 

We must not only exercise our right to demand police recognize their responsibility to abide by the law, but we must keep police from accepting the billions in federal grant money that amount to little more than bribes aimed at eliminating local control of law enforcement and the low key development of a federally-funded, locally-manned standing army.

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