Doraville Police Militarization: They Just Want to Protect You!

August 14, 2014 7:40 am

by Jessica S. · 28 comments

In the Morning Reads, I made mention of the militarization of the police force following the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, but it seems our own Doraville has a unique level of over-the-top police militarization policies and procedures.

A Washington Post article  highlights officer prep for the response of a ‘downed officer’ in the city of Doraville (population: 8,500) in a terrifying video, which at press time for WaPo, was on the Home Page of the Doraville Police Department. (It seems to have since been ‘removed’.) While edited by a third party complete with skeleton images and a soundtrack of the audio being “Die Motherf—-r Die” by Dope, one has to question the intent and condemn the preposterous tone.

Take a look:

Doraville, to its credit, is fairly safe. In the 3 year period from 2009-2012, they didn’t report a single murder and their website states they are currently one of the 50 safest cities in America.  The city is of a lengthy list of Georgia towns equipped with weapons and tanks of such a high caliber. Perhaps we should question the willingness of the department to include the video as part of their ‘official’ platform.

Discuss.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

View from Brookhaven August 14, 2014 at 9:45 am

The “positive” to Ferguson is that cops/gov’t have ****** this up so badly, it’s exposed even larger issues than Brown being murdered alone.

Bill Dawers August 14, 2014 at 10:14 am

I’ve got a pretty big social media network, and I’m seeing massive concern about militarization of the police from the left, from the right, and from the center.

We have to communicate in every way possible to elected and appointed officials that the pendulum has swung too far. I think this trend started after 9/11, but at some point we went from justifiable readiness for the remote but real possibility of terrorism even in small towns to absurd and financially unsustainable levels of training, equipment, and rhetoric.

saltycracker August 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

You’d think a swat tank in a town of 8,500 is one big liability risk.

dsean August 14, 2014 at 10:39 am

Nah, there’s judicially-created qualified immunity and a justice system more interested in protecting the shield than holding government agents to account. Very little risk.

Jon Richards August 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

I agree that cities and counties acquiring equipment like this was a result of terrorism, 9/11 and the grants provided by the Department of Homeland Security. And if I recall correctly, these grants were spread around, especially in large metros like Atlanta, and used to purchase different items that could be used in case of terrorist attack. Presumably, the cities would pool resources if the threat was large enough.

I would worry more if not only Doraville, but Chamblee, Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Norcross each had one of these.

Was it over the top to take a video and set it to music? Yes. We don’t know who created the video, but it doesn’t appear to be the department itself. But it was ill advised for the department to put the thing on its website.

dsean August 14, 2014 at 12:17 pm

You mean like this one from Dunwoody?
https://www.facebook.com/dunwoodypolice/photos/pb.210921101602.-2207520000.1408032978./10152251869696603/?type=3&theater

How about the Norcross Humvee? https://www.facebook.com/norcrosspd/photos/pb.195487040478263.-2207520000.1408032851./897717630255197/?type=3&theater

These most likely came from the Defense Department’s 1033 program, giving them to police departments without charge.

greencracker August 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Man, Chamblee needs to join this arms race or it’ll be surrounded soon.

Ellynn August 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Some of it is companies having back logs of equipment or lines that were slowing down after the slow down in 2008 expanded into the domostic market.

Example, Oshkosh Truck has a civil force line of converted armored wheeled and urban assault vehicles; high-mobility trailers; and logistics support that can be marketed with thir Pierce line of fire, rescue and security apparatus plus snow blowers, plow trucks, towing, and recovery equipment.

Oshkosh can do all this under a single source seller and with in-home finacing to avoid things like bonds. Add in a few legitimate grants, plus some homeland wish list money no city over 20,000 needs unless their guarding something really important , and you can get alot of stuff all at one time.

Choosy Mothers Choose Jiff August 14, 2014 at 12:56 pm

All of this is so wrong on so many levels.

You also have a viscous cycle at play here.

War on (some) Drugs begets RICO.

The MIC has a stockpile of spiffy stuff that Uncle Sugar has already paid handsomely for and looking to unload again.

RICO enriches LE, who must by law not abuse the funds; rather, show justification for its use.

Enter military style SWAT with openly racist Oil War Vets who didn’t get enough bullying and killing now sportin’ badges, killin’ naggers and seeking RICO enriched sources through select busts or just plain shenanigans (see Internet), who then have to spend the funds on more military toys, and they have to have busts to justify the use, so they use it for the busts etc..

This is your Patriot Act totes on testosterone and gunpowder.

So we have men and women with below average IQ’s (thanks, SCOTUS!) who are openly race hunters, heavily armed in a small town, feeling like they own the town (currently, they do) and bodies start to drop. People (read: citizens of the town) peacefully protest (albeit some minor looting and vandalism, standard for an angry racial protest) and police respond as we all now see. Even two journalists were detained. Even military VETS said that they looked and acted military, except with badges.

Now they are calling for Obama’s National Guard to ‘restore the peace’.

What gets me is the white conservative response on other boards is to auto-kneejerk acceptance of the “official version” of what happened, instead of the witness who was less than 2 feet from the shooter and the victim. To me, this is classic liberal nanny state thinking ‘defer to the story put forth by The Authority™’ and attacks the killed instead of the killer.

What you see here is typical Blowback from the failed war on drugs. Truly, prohibition and its enforcement tactics are the root of all that is wrong with this globe.

Frankly, I want to know from the Governor and his opponent in the election would do if this happened in Helen, Dublin or East Point? Who gets prosecuted, the over-the-top-cop or the simple colored protester?

seenbetrdayz August 16, 2014 at 5:34 am

From what I read, military veterans didn’t say cops act like military. They said EVEN THE MILITARY DOESN’T ACT LIKE THIS. In any case, something ain’t right with the picture.

PoliticalJoe August 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm

If I was the guy being rescued in this situation, I certainly wouldn’t mind the police using the tank

MattMD August 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm

You are really missing the salient point.

MattMD August 14, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Jessica–

This is a serious issue and you should keep up on it. The Pentagon is basically giving away weapons and weapon systems to civilian police forces. We will become a police state in a decade or so if these trends continue. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have Blue Force Tracking in a few years.

What can we do? Talk to the legislature?

Tom Taylor August 14, 2014 at 11:56 pm

I am the legislator in the General Assembly who represents Dunwoody, Doraville and Chamblee here. Throw some comments out there, will join the discussion. I work with these city governments every day.

Full disclosure, I was on the original Dunwoody City Coumcil and chaired the Police Task Force as we ramped up a new city government.

Tom Taylor August 14, 2014 at 11:58 pm

I also Chair the Public Safety Subcommittee of the MARTOC (MARTA Oversight Committee) in the legislature, so deal with those jurisdictions as well.

Michael Silver August 15, 2014 at 7:26 am

Interesting fact …. SWAT has never stopped an Active Killer event. Ever. The active stops have typically been one officer with a pistol and a vest … in the rare case LE stops an event.

SWAT’s focus is door-kicking in the war on drugs with no-knock raids. (as pointed out above by Choosy Moms).

The equipment of war is troubling since it implies the Government is at war with us. More troubling is the over use of no-knock raids that trample the Constitution, kill innocent people, and in the end justify the weapons of war. Senator Fort was on the right track when he tried to limit no-knock raids to when they are truly needed.

greencracker August 15, 2014 at 7:53 am

Hank Johnson to introduce bill to curb military surplus program:
http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=278275

“Johnson said city streets should be a place for businesses and families, ‘not tanks and M16s.’ He said a 24-year-old Pentagon program that transfers surplus military equipment to local law enforcement has led to police agencies resembling paramilitary forces.”

saltycracker August 15, 2014 at 8:35 am

Seems like there should be better alliances between cities, counties, state or national guard with “send in heavier artillery” protocol with equipment/ordnance distribution loosely based on population, crime rates, access…..The Feds giving/allowing city or county heavy military ordnance to be widely distributed is a police state emerging.

Dave Bearse August 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm

The Doraville tank got a little air time on Bill Maher’s show a few weeks ago when Maher concluded New Rules expressing concerns about police militarization.

Harry August 16, 2014 at 11:43 am

How does Doraville afford these war toys, ordinance, and paramilitary SWAT teams? Please don’t tell me the local property taxes are paying for it.

seenbetrdayz August 17, 2014 at 5:10 am

Don’t be ridiculous . . . . .

We borrowed the money from China to pay for all this. :(

saltycracker August 17, 2014 at 11:12 am

Imagine a good portion of the heavy stuff (maybe not helicopters) is distributed by the Pentagon – maintenance, complementary stuff and staff provided by taxpayers. Some is off set by confiscation in the “war on drugs” and fines.

The budgets of our public safety departments have been exploding and a big concern in many cities/counties. It is a vicious cycle.
The militarization of our local police is very concerning. We need a step up protocol.

drjay August 18, 2014 at 10:20 am

Doraville Police Militarization: They Just Want to Protect (
the hell out of) You!

seenbetrdayz August 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Remember the flash-banged baby?

Habersham Co., GA won’t be footing the bill for that:

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/lawyer-county-refuses-pay-medical-bills-toddler-hu/ng3s9/

I really don’t know what to say. It’s not at all surprising, but still infuriating all the same. I think it would be nice if they’d sell off all the military equipment the SWAT team has, pay the family’s bills, and tell the tactiCOOL! SWAT Rambo wannabes to go write some parking tickets.

WeymanCWannamakerJr August 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm

The state legislature should address the policing for profit that is rabid all over Georgia. Though the state receives criticism on some of the weakest civil forfeiture laws in the country the Sheriffs and District Attorneys have successfully lobbied to beat down legislation for the past few years. In the most recent session the legislation was watered down to essentially only force full reporting of confiscations and it still didn’t pass. As it stands now law enforcement can still confiscate property only on a presumption of guilt with no requirement for a conviction. Even though the person is supposedly innocent until proven guilty the property is essentially guilty unless proven innocent. The lack of reporting has created slush funds that can be used to paint, customize and otherwise maintain the military hardware like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle featured here.
Though the subject of jokes in this forum recently why is it that local municipalities and counties receive the revenue from issuing traffic citations for breaking state law? Even the revenue from tickets issued by Georgia State Patrol officers goes to local coffers. If there is one thing that leads the average citizen to view the police as predators as opposed to serving and protecting in this state it is the pressure to generate revenue put on officers by issuing citations. Pool the money and redistribute it from the state level back to the local governments proportional to their population.

WeymanCWannamakerJr August 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm

That was supposed to be a reply to Rep. Taylor’s post above but ended up here instead.

saltycracker August 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm

As posted: Put a significant portion of the fines into the DOT fund and let the locals keep a %. This results in less “fund raising events” and the state taking a cut for admin.

Michael Silver August 21, 2014 at 7:25 am

Moving the confiscated money to a Transportation fund is the right approach. Right now, Law Enforcement has an incentive to create crimes where they can confiscate cash and items since what they confiscate goes toward new patrol cars, fancy guns, and military style training. The current law is blantant conflict of interest, impugns the integrity of Law Enforcement, and harms communities when they learn the police have just robbed them under color of the law.

Every officer I’ve spoken to understands that what they collect on the streets means more gravy back at the barracks. We need a way to discourage that thinking.