Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Remember the screwed-up SWAT raid where they shot the mayor's dogs?

And still say it was the right thing to do?
As a result of this colossal yet not-unprecedented screw-up, plus Calvo's notoriety and persistence, last year Maryland became the first state in the country to make every one of its police departments issue a report on how often and for what purpose they use their SWAT teams. The first reports from the legislation are in, and the results are disturbing.

Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George's County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state's SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.

Worse even than those dreary numbers is the fact that more than half of the county’s SWAT deployments were for misdemeanors and nonserious felonies. That means more than 100 times last year Prince George’s County brought state-sanctioned violence to confront people suspected of nonviolent crimes

And- as usual- the cops in the area don't like this law, and really don't like the idea of not being allowed to use SWAT teams in the case of misdemeanor offenses. Considering the crap that's come out about Sheriff Michael Jackson- who ought to be thrown out of that office and forever banned from wearing a badge- and some of the other idiocy, that's the least of the restrictions that should be implemented.

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