March 20, 2008
SOFT SWAT (for kinder, gentler, wrong-house drug raids!)
In a recent Human Events piece -- "The Softer Side of SWAT," Brett Winterble complains about a plan to admit more females onto SWAT teams on the theory that male SWAT members "under-emphasize negotiating skills, patience, empathy and flexibility while over-emphasizing physical prowess and tactical acumen."
...isn't the whole point of a SWAT team to be a weapon to use when all else fails?OK, I could see his point if SWAT teams were used solely in such situations.
But, while that may have been the case in the old days, it simply is not the case today. Far from it. Radley Balko has written extensively about the growing use of SWAT teams for routine police work -- especially to serve search warrants in drug cases:
Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.And dogs, of course, the shooting of which is now routine. Dogs are being routinely purchased as a first line of defense against the invaders.
If they want to go back to using SWAT teams for their original purpose that would be one thing. But if they continue to use them in routine police work at the cost of innocent human lives, I think that's an argument for disbanding their use altogether.
"Softening" or feminizing them is only a half measure.
posted by Eric on 03.20.08 at 06:09 PM
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