Senator Rand Paul on militarization of America’s police force
QUESTION: Senator Paul, I heard that you visited Ferguson, MO. I’m glad to hear that you are concerned about the militarization of America’s police force. In New Hampshire we have five BEARCAT armored vehicles. You might have heard about that. I’m concerned about the influence of corporations that profit from the militarization of our police force. What would you do to limit that influence?
RAND PAUL: Here’s the question that was asked in committee. I’m on a committee that oversees this. We found out that a third of the military equipment is brand new. They call it a surplus program, but it’s brand new. So one of the questions that was asked, and I’m going to try to find the answer to this is, if it’s brand new, does that mean then that when we give it away as surplus, are we then buying more of it to replace it? Which sounds like a churning thing based on someone’s financial gain as opposed to what the country needs. So I’m concerned about that.
The complex of people who buy stuff and work for the government is so enormously large that it shouldn’t drive policy. We should create policy based on what we need for our defense, what we need for our police forces. Having a 20 ton mine resistant ambush vehicle in a town of 3000 is ridiculous.
We gave away 12,000 bayonets. That’s ridiculous. I asked the guy from FEMA. I said, “What do you propose the police are going to do with bayonets?” He didn’t have an answer. I said, “Why don’t you just knock them off the list and no longer give them away?” He’s like, “Oh, we’re studying it.” So they’re going to study it to death for 6 months and then maybe get rid of some of these things.
All of it says in the small print you’re not allowed to use it for riot control, yet they do anyway. That’s what it was out there for. It was for riot control, or protest control. I object to it and I’m going to try to change it if I can.