There are a number of perfectly reasonable reasons to be concerned about the growing militarization of domestic U.S. police departments, which increasingly rely on military tactics, equipment and former personnel in the course of their day-to-day policing. Nearly as disconcerting is their rationale for doing so, John Rambo: In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war.
“You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.’s and to defeat law enforcement techniques,” Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department told [...]
Here is how not to use a bicycle lane: An 87-year-old Marin County man was driving to the Department of Motor Vehicles office when he mistook a narrow concrete-walled bicycle-pedestrian path for Highway 101, and then he just kept driving until his car was wedged so tightly between the cement barriers that a tow truck had to yank the Toyota out. Is this symbolic of the increasingly hostile urban turf wars between automobile drivers and bicyclists?
Maybe! Listen to what this guy said, after all the trouble he caused: "They should block that off, that passageway."
Raymond Pierce will have a mandatory re-evaluation of his driving privileges, under California [...]
"State officials Thursday pointed to the failure of the quality assurance office within the Vermont Correctional Industries Print Shop in St. Albans to detect a prisoner-artist’s addition made four years ago to the traditional state police logo. A spot on the shoulder of the cow in the state emblem was modified into a pig. An investigation has begun into how the computer program was improperly modified to insert the image, Vermont Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said." —Some thirty Vermont State police cars have been displaying the subtle joke of a clever prison inmate for the past four years. New decals are being produced (at a cost of 780 [...]
Apparently the drug dogs that sniff your car and get all excited when they smell your dope are not so good. Or maybe too good? "A Tribune analysis of three years of data for suburban departments found that only 44 percent of those alerts by the dogs led to the discovery of drugs or paraphernalia. For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent." To be fair to the dogs, the Chicago Tribune is working off some fairly lousy data here—the Chicago PD and the Illinois State Police don't even collect data, apparently, about drug dog alerts. But going through suburban police departments in Illinois, they found [...]
A Florida rapper was robbed of $35,000 worth of jewelry last week in a Miami barbershop. That's a shame, but it may have been worth it for the interview with a local police officer, which comes at 1:38 in the video. This guy's got it all. The corny hard-boiled humor: "They took a little more off the top than he expected." The stilted use of hip-hop slang: "This robbery was off the chain." The insulting anthropological assessment: "For a rapper to have his bling stolen, they might as well have just stolen this man's heart!" All in all, a very impressive job of reinforcing cop stereotypes established by [...]