Over the past ten days, parts of Ferguson, Missouri have looked less like a suburb, and more like a military operation. The community has been dealing with protests, as well as some looting and violence, after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
And while the sight of police in riot gear is unusual in any community, some are questioning the sight of police using gear and equipment usually associated with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s because of programs that enabled both the military to provide equipment to state police forces as well as one that funded state and local law enforcement anti-terrorism programs after the attacks on September 11th, 2001. The gear often includes armored vehicles, helicopters, weapons, protective gear, night vision goggles and even computers and camouflage clothing.
Advocates of the donations and funding argue that the hope is that the equipment won’t be necessary in most cases, but that law enforcement should be well-funded and prepared to protect communities in situations that are difficult to anticipate.
On the other side of the debate, many feel that using military equipment against ordinary citizens is taking it too far.
But what do you think? Should local and state police have access to the same equipment as the military?
Vote in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments below. If you want your response to be used on the show, please include your first name (and only your first name!), age and city and state.