A key plank of the Obama administration platform seems to be the conversion of the local police into a fifth branch of the U.S. armed forces.
The means of accomplishing this goal is the doling out of millions of dollars from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to police departments and sheriffs' offices around the country.
Cash-strapped local law enforcement gobbles up the federal “grants,” purchasing military-grade vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and surveillance technology that would make the National Security Agency (NSA) proud.
For a list of the largesse and an inventory of the incredible equipment it finances, we rely on local media reports.
To help local emergency preparedness capability, local governments and police departments across the state have received $80 million in grants, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.
The grants help support and expand local government and police departments’ ability to respond and react to emergencies. The majority of funding is distributed through the $75 million annual state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports.
According to the story, the DHS money will go to fund “Technical Rescue and Urban Search and Rescue, Bomb Squad Initiative, the Explosive Detection Canine Team Grant Program, and the Critical Infrastructure Grant Program.”
In San Juan, Texas, DHS money is buying the police department an intelligence-gathering robot. Local newspaper, The Monitor, reports:
The San Juan Police Department has added a robot named Raven to its crime fighting arsenal.
Raven was purchased in early November at a cost of $27,000, paid for with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, said San Juan police Chief Juan Gonzalez.
“Raven is a great asset to our department,” Gonzalez said, referring to the black, shin-high, tank-like robot designed to enter hard-to-reach places. “He is equipped with a set of cameras, infrared cameras and audio equipment that gives us eyes and ears in difficult situations such as a hostage situation.”
While Raven has already been used to gather intelligence in a drug raid last month, San Juan police got a chance to fully interact with the robot in the days before Thanksgiving when the department ran a series of exercises to test the capabilities of Raven and of the Law Enforcement Emergency Regional Response Team, or LEERRT — the regional SWAT team based in San Juan.
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