NH Police Acquisition of Military-Style Vehicles Raises Questions
American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war. Federal funding in the billions of dollars has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters – New Hampshire is no exception.
Through a right to know request, the NHCLU recently obtained a copy of the Concord Police Department’s application to Homeland Security for a $258,000 armored BearCat vehicle. The application cites non-violent groups—such as the Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire—as justification for needing the armored vehicle, asserting that New Hampshire’s experience with terrorism "slants primarily towards the domestic type" and that "the threat is real and here" . New Hampshire cities of Manchester and Keene have already acquired similar vehicles.
ACLU affiliates in 25 states have filed over 260 public records requests with law enforcement agencies across the country to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments. Thus far, anecdotal evidence indicates that use of military machinery and counter-terrorism tactics can encourage overly aggressive policing – often with devastating consequences
Read more about the ACLU’s investigation here.
Read the Union Leader's article on Concord’s BearCat application here.