Where Are The Six Armored Personnel Carriers?

Two weeks ago, we in Orange County, NC learned that six armored personnel carriers had been made available to law enforcement in our county. We are told, two weeks later, that elected officials within our county are still trying to track them down. Still trying. Two weeks later.

Let me deal with the immediate, and then I'll wax about conspiracy.

The immediate: I can forgive elected officials for not knowing where six armored personnel carriers might be. Maybe. Just. But, after two weeks, if you truly can not find them, and do not know what to say to your citizens about them, then you have no business serving.

Someone sold them. Someone bought them. Someone has a receipt. Some body of elected officials looked at some document saying, we want 'em, or we bought 'em.

And if not the latter, then who exactly is policing the police in our county, and cf. no business serving.

Unless, and here is where we get to conspiracy.

I remember back in 2011, when SWAT was deployed in Chapel Hill, to the anger, consternation, bemusement of the citizenry. As in, really, we have a team like that, why?

A number of us called for an independent investigation, including former US Senate candidate, Jim Neal. Not just to determine what led to the use of SWAT, but also, to answer the question, why on earth do we have militaristic equipment in the hands of our police in a sleepy, southern college town?

While others focused on ordinary people being pushed to the ground, I followed the trail which it seemed to me was being avoided by the powers. There was talk that weekend (from among the police themselves) of a gathering of law enforcement officers from outside our county, specifically to monitor a weekend meeting of activists, which meeting eventually led to the confrontation with SWAT.

The trail (sort of) existed, up to the moment things got hot with the activists and SWAT, and then, miraculously, it disappeared. As in, the gathering of outside law enforcement just seemed to dissipate. No mention of ending the gathering, sending home. Just nada. My suspicion, recorded at the time, and which I was anxious to pursue with the investigation-that-never-was, was that those ghostly outside officials may have been there specifically to witness a staged training exercise, and may have participated, in civvies.

I grant you. No evidence. But suspicion borne of a lifetime of observation.

Fast forward to disappearing armored personnel carriers. Funny thing this disappearing, eh?

In 2012, I appeared on a radio show, on our local community radio station, WCOM, hosted by a charming left-of-center, hmm, ok, conspiracy theorist. I was talking civilian oversight of police. He kept on burbling about a warehouse in Orange County, he could take me to see, stuffed full of military hardware.

Doesn't seem so wild now.

So. My conspiracy. I wonder. I wonder if our esteemed elected officials can not find the carriers (well, except for the two admitted by the Chapel Hill Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Department) because they don't belong to any law enforcement agency in this county.

What if the article in the New York Times, the one that gave rise to all this turmoil about six armored personnel carriers, what if that article misspoke? What if the information was not purchase, but deployment?

What if levels of law enforcement 'superior' to those within our county are not merely offering services (SWAT training exercise?) and equipment (carriers?), but are insisting upon their use?

What if, in order to keep it all off the books, the equipment is not being sold, at the moment, but merely stored, in facilities nearby, not necessarily owned by law enforcement within this county?

What if the training and experiential exercising is also kept 'off the books,' in the form of provoked events, where covert trainers and observers are present - before they 'disappear'?

Right. Let's come back from the world of Robert Ludlum. And deal with what we know.

It doesn't take two weeks, folks. Pull your finger out. Find out how they got here. Plug the flow. Get those vehicles out of our county. And make sure nothing like it, covert, overt, off the books, on a carousel, whatever, nothing like it ever stains our county again. Or find a different vocation.

Issues: 

Total votes: 172

Comments

I attach a press release just issued by law enforcement in Orange County:

http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?recordid=7888&page=22

I note they are still unable to account for all of the armored personnel carriers. If our elected officials can not find six armored personnel carriers apparently in Orange County, then it is time for new elected officials.

 

The New York Times issued a correction last week and now reports 3 armored vehicles in Orange County obtained from the Department of Defense since 2006. See www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/15/us/surplus-military-equipment-map.... It appears they double-counted several counties around the country in the first version of the map.

Chapel Hill reports having 1 armored vehicle. The Sheriff's Office reports having 3 armored vehicles (of which 2 are inoperable and are used for parts). Carrboro and Hillsborough report having no armored vehicles. See http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/local-police-plan-public-forums-milita....

Thank you, Damon, for this update. Personally, I would now like to see those two armored vehicles returned, along with the spare parts. For myself, I can see no need for offensive police equipment of any kind beyond handguns and maybe shotguns. Miltiary trucks, to remove fallen trees, ok.

I will be attending at least one of these public forums, and will be sharing my thoughts on a less aggressive form of front-line policing, including body cameras, stand-alone police oversight bodies and a general move towards the use of firearms only as a last resort - defusion of confrontation, rather than suppression. More of that on my other thread, about disarming front-line policing.

In the meantime, well done you, well done your colleagues and well done Chapelboro for raising awareness of potential militarization of the police in our county.

 

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