ACLU statement: San Diego Unified to Return MRAP
SAN DIEGO – The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties congratulates San Diego Unified School District for announcing it will return the mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle (or MRAP) it had obtained earlier this year from the Department of Defense through Program 1033. MRAPs belong on the battlefield, not a place of learning.
Policing across the United States has become excessively militarized, mainly through federal programs that create incentives for state and local police to use unnecessarily aggressive weapons and tactics designed for the battlefield. San Diego County police agencies have taken receipt of a significant amount of military equipment from the Department of Defense in just the last several years.
In addition to the MRAP obtained by San Diego Unified Schools Police, the Sheriff’s Department took possession of 9 M-14 rifles, and the San Diego Police Department received 75 M-16 assault rifles. These transfers of military equipment to local police agencies have happened with almost no public oversight.
Excessive militarization damages communities, escalates the risk of violence, and erodes public trust in law enforcement. The risks of militarizing school police are even greater. We need to end the use of paramilitary tactics and equipment to conduct domestic policing and commit to demilitarizing our schools.
For more on the militarization of policing in the U.S., see the ACLU report War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing
For your entertainment, hear the Colbert Report’s take on the tank.