In case you missed it in comments, I just wanted to point out readers here doing some important work.
In my post about the Judge Napolitano video, I suggested:
Now, find out who your local alderman is, or whatever the most local unit of government is in your area. Send them the link to this video, and say that youâ€™re concerned that something like this could happen in your town. Ask him/her to find out what the local policy is regarding use of militarized raids against citizens, and urge that the policy be examined in light of this.
Maria took advantage of the opportunity:
Sent this link to all the FOX biz and FOX news watchers in my life who lean towards more conservative and business values â€“ check (promising feedback so far..)
Sent links to original video and links to left leaning commentary and media to CNN and and MSNBC â€“ check
Will be sending to local conservative, good olâ€™ boy mayor once I track down email â€“ check
Gift horse rode â€“ check
Dano gave it a shot
Well, I contacted all my government reps: city, county, state, federal. Only took a few minutes to draft an email and then fill in all those forms for each. I donâ€™t expect my simple email to make a difference, but if there are enough of us making noise the government tends to at least feign listening. Itâ€™s a stepâ€¦
and guess what happened almost immediately…
I sent email out to all of the local city council, which in turn forwarded the request for more information to the local PD. As long as they know we are watching it makes it harder for them to let controls deteriorate to the level of this video.
Hereâ€™s the PD spokesperson response:
I am a captain with the our local city Police Department and Iâ€™m in charge of the Support Services Division which includes our SWAT team. Councilmember Friedman referred your inquiry to the police department for response.
I have reviewed your email and the Fox News video. To say the least, the video is shocking, and I understand your fears about a similar situation potentially occurring in our local city. I would like to provide you with some information about out policies and protocols for the use of SWAT.
First of all, our SWAT team was formed in late 1997. Since that time the team has served numerous high-risk search and arrest warrants and handled many barricaded dangerous suspect incidents. I am probably jinxing out record by saying this, but in all of this time our SWAT team has not been the basis for a lawsuit against the City of our local city.
This is my home town and I have worked for the police department for 29 years. I would prefer to not have a SWAT team, but in this megalopolis of 10M+ people and our proximity to high crime areas of Los Angeles, a SWAT team is a necessity. Statistics show that when a SWAT team is properly used, the possibility for injury or death of an officer, citizen or suspect is decreased. This is because a properly trained and equipped SWAT team takes extraordinary steps to avoid direct confrontation with an armed and dangerous suspect.
In our local city, all SWAT deployments, except in an immediate emergency, must be approved by the chief of police. Our SWAT team is not used for â€œroutineâ€ search warrant service â€“ even in drug dealing circumstances. The video of the Missouri SWAT team appears to be a â€œroutineâ€ warrant service that would not be approved in our local city. While the following is not an exhaustive list, SWAT is essentially deployed only in the following circumstances:
Where an armed suspect is barricaded, refuses to surrender and is believed to be capable of killing or inflicting serious injury on a citizen or a police officer Where a location of a search/arrest warrant is fortified, barricaded or reinforced in such a manner exceeding the capabilities of regular police officers to carry out the warrant service and other means of gaining entry to the location are not viable
Where a suspect is believed to be armed, dangerous or threatening and there is a likelihood of an armed confrontation if conventional police tactics are employed
Iâ€™m not sure how search warrants are issued in Missouri, but in California an untested, unreliable informant cannot be used as the sole basis for a search/arrest warrant. The police must independently establish probable cause substantiating that evidence of a crime is at a particular location. The probably cause is then presented to a judge (in writing except in extreme emergencies where an oral/recorded affidavit is presented) who then makes a determination as to whether or not probable cause exists for the issuance of a warrant. Once a warrant has been issued by a judge, it must be served by a peace officer in a timely fashion.
Generally, if SWAT is requested for the service of a search warrant, the situation must be evaluated and meet the above criteria. The SWAT team and detectives then conduct database searches and actual reconnaissance of the location to determine if there are factors which might indicate that a warrant should NOT be served â€“ such as the presence of children, elderly persons, etc. SWAT always looks for alternatives to serving a â€œdynamicâ€ warrant such as the one depicted in the Fox News video. Two common alternatives are (1) placing a location under surveillance and following away suspects when they leave so that they may be arrested on the street, away from a location. Detectives may then return to the location and serve the search warrant, presumably, on a vacant location. And (2) where use of a SWAT team is warranted, SWAT may surround the location and â€œcall outâ€ any suspects. When the suspects come outside, they are detained and the SWAT team then slowly and methodically searches the location, which is presumably empty.
I think Iâ€™ve provided more information than you requested, but I wanted to give you comfort that the our local city Police Department does not have a SWAT team that is used indiscriminately. In the proper situation a SWAT team can save lives â€“ and that is the primary mission of SWAT.
Good work, team.
How about the rest of you? What are you doing? Are you getting results?