The police have an obligation to protect the community but how far? When the police receive military equipment for use against the citizens of the community, they are betraying the trust and disrupting the harmony of their citizens. The civil liberties of every citizen can be taken away without any intervention due to the high capabilities of the militarized police. The police have built a system so as if any or every citizen wishes to express any new ideas or ideals he/she or they will be easily managed, arrested, and dealt with swiftly. The police have been gearing up for war with training, equipment and shoot first mentality.
The argument that there is never a valid reason for a civilian police force to possess military technology is na"ve. The problem lies not with the equipment but rather with judicious use thereof as well as with the quality of the our civic officers. I am not arguing that Keene, NH needs a tank (http://www.huffingtonpost.com...) but not all militarization in the police force is bad or unwarranted.
The police are here to enforce the laws of the court, but new laws are made every day, and some are changed. These policies are put in place by the elected officials of the community, some everyone agrees on and others are still up for great debate. But without question the police must do their job or be subject to termination. With the militarization of the police how, when, and where should they could they use this equipment? Having no laws against the police using this equipment at any time they see necessary is a dangerous path to take because when a person commits a crime and the penalty is based on a monetary value it gives cause for the police to come collect. Either it is a scare tactic or plain intimidation the police will be able to come find you, knock down your door, throw you on the ground, tie you up, and haul you away even if you are and never were a threat to anyone. If any new law was passed that took away the civil liberties of the people then the police are already well equipped to round up all those who may oppose such laws, making them criminals in the process and their voices would be unheard. The police could be deployed to take down a lemonade stand in the neighborhood, bust down doors to arrest suspects with pot, and shoot suspects of retail theft worth only $100.
The police can and should purchase military equipment to protect their citizens from threats of global terrorism, domestic terrorism, and highly organized criminals. America has been fighting a war abroad in order to prevent any terrorist threats from coming to its shores. The radical extremists are determined to attack at the soonest opportunity possible and the best way to respond to an attack or threat of terrorism is to have actively ready personnel and equipment that is specially designed to handle the situation. The local police have had to become those personnel, not by choice, but by them being the only available option in most cases. While it is the main job of the FBI to handle domestic terrorism and organized crime, they do not have the personnel at every local jurisdiction to take full control of such a situation as quickly, so the responsibility again falls to the police. However the FBI soul responsibility is to handle federal crimes, each with its own specialized department and personnel, and the average police officer is responsible to respond to a much wider array of problems. The police get called into action for domestic disturbances, assault, theft, suicides, murders, suspicious activity, and much more. They don't respond with military force for every situation even though there are no rules in place saying they can't. Since there are no rules about when they can and cant use the military force or equipment it is unclear when it should be used oppressing a threat from people, or protecting them from one.