A Closer Look at Homeland Security’s MRAP Armored Vehicles

June 4th, 2013

Taxpayers were recently shocked to discover that the Department of Homeland Security began stockpiling an alarming number of weapons that would make it one of the best-equipped military forces worldwide. Forbes reported on the domestic law enforcement agency’s acquisition of somewhere between millions and billions of rounds of ammo, a cache of fully-automatic weapons, and mine resistant armored vehicles with gun ports.

America’s tradition of community policing seems to have been tossed out the window in favor of the paramilitary style that is more often seen in brutal dictatorships. Modern Survival posted a breakdown of the capabilities of Homeland Security’s MRAP armored vehicles. Check out a video demo of the light tank below, and let’s discuss the specifics after the jump.

Land Mines in the USA

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the armor on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles shields soldiers from IED blasts. However, landmines and IEDs are not exactly commonly-used on police officers in the United States. In fact, it would be hard for someone to find an example of a scenario in which a police vehicle was destroyed by a landmine or other type of explosive during the issuance of a warrant. Typically, law enforcement officers have the element of surprise in such situations. It would be tough for a criminal to sneak a landmine out into his driveway upon noticing their arrival.

The Department of Homeland Security’s new light tanks feature gun ports on the sides, back, and top, which are mainly useful for indiscriminately firing into crowds of attackers that are shelling the vehicle from all sides. This certainly could happen on the battlefield in a war. However, there is no such thing as a scenario in which police officers would need to fire into crowds of people on the street through narrow gun ports while carrying out law enforcement duties inside the United States.

DHS Officer Admits the Tanks Are for “Warrant Services”

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the delivery of a warrant would require an armored vehicle built with street sweeping gun ports and armor to resist mines and explosions. Police already have equipment, technology, and training for disabling explosive devices when those rare situations occur. However, it does seem likely that these vehicles will be used during the delivery of controversial no-knock warrants, probably on people suspected of drug crimes. Homeowners are often killed during the confusion involved in these military-style home invasion raids, especially in situations in which SWAT teams accidentally target the wrong address.

The US government has gone way overboard with the militarization of police. Unfortunately, DHS has also been giving military-style equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies, spreading this trend throughout all levels of government. The sad truth is that it appears that the military techniques used to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan are being repackaged as law enforcement strategies for use right here at home.

The militarization of police contradicts America’s constitutional principles and makes no sense considering the fact that violent crime rates have been dropping for decades. The days of Andy Griffith style community policing are long gone.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.