Discussing the militarization of police

Posted By: Jenn Hatcher

In Ferguson, Missouri, after a white officer shot and killed black teen, Michael Brown, military equipment was used to try and keep the peace during protests.

Some, like Amy Miller with ACLU of Nebraska, say the military tactic goes too far.  “This was technology that was designed for overseas in military combat situations but it’s being used in neighborhoods,” says Miller.

The situation started a national discussion on the militarization of police. Just last year, the Lancaster County Sheriffs Office obtained an armored vehicle from the military, for pennies on the dollar.  Sheriff Terry Wagner says, “It can go a lot of places we need to go and it’s armored and protects the occupants inside.”

Recently the ACLU issued a report, war comes home.  Highlighting the organizations fear about law enforcement using military equipment. Though, the local ACLU says Nebraska is using far less military equipment than other states.  Miller explains, “We haven’t been out there, adapting and taking a lot of heavy duty military grade.  But, there is some and were very concerned about making sure from here on out there’s transparency before we accept more into our borders.”
Sheriff Terry Wagner says his team will continue to use the equipment, pointing out that in 14 months the military vehicle was used just twice. “It’s not used very often but when it’s needed it’s very important to have that stuff,” says Wagner.


Nebraskans for Peace hosted a discussion on this topic Monday night.