Saturday, April 19, 2014

Why Does the BLM Have a SWAT Team?

And it's not only the BLM. A wide range of federal agencies have their own paramilitary SWAT teams. John Fund:
Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.
If you have a SWAT team, you want to use it. This leads to sending overpowering force not against terrorists, drug runners or organized crime but against regular citizens doing nothing violent or even serious.
Take the case of Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif., who was “visited” by a SWAT team from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2011. Agents battered down the door of his home at 6 a.m., dragged him outside in his boxer shorts, and handcuffed him as they put his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a police car for two hours while they searched his home. The raid was allegedly intended to uncover information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who hadn’t been living with him and was suspected of college financial-aid fraud.
[emphasis added]
Someone needs to disband and defund these federal SWAT teams and require federal agencies to use "real law-enforcement agency" resources.
Brian Walsh, a senior legal analyst with the Heritage Foundation, says it is inexplicable why so many federal agencies need to be battle-ready: “If these agencies occasionally have a legitimate need for force to execute a warrant, they should be required to call a real law-enforcement agency, one that has a better sense of perspective. The FBI, for example, can draw upon its vast experience to determine whether there is an actual need for a dozen SWAT agents.”
H/T Byron York


MAX Redline said...

The Wright events illustrate just how scary these agencies have become. Even had Michelle been living there, it's still blatant overkill. In this case, Wright not only did nothing violent or even serious - he didn't even do anything wrong!

T. D. said...

The two problems are (assuming a warrant) judicial overreaction mixed with law enforcement overreaction. If they have the power, they use it irresponsibly if not called to account.