Via America’s Lawyer: Studies show that militarizing local police forces with weapons of war does nothing to reduce crime rates. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             A new peer reviewed study has proven that giving police officers weapons of war absolutely does nothing to reduce crime rates. I have Farron Cousins here, the editor of the trial lawyer magazine to talk about it. You know, Farron, we’ve, we’ve done this story so many times, it’s almost, you’re talking about airplanes, grenades, rocket launchers, tanks, drones. What, what happens is this is surplus, right? The military weapons industry wants to sell more weapons. So they go to the military and they said, ah, you need new tanks. You need new grenades. You need new airplanes. Let’s get rid of the old and bring in the new. And so this is just a, it’s another way the weapons industry makes money. It’s doing nothing as far as stopping crime in the United States, according to these studies. What’s your take?

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And, you know, that’s a really good point to start off with there. is this 1033 program is what it’s called and that, that’s exactly what it is. You have the defense industry that wants to keep selling more weapons each year. They know the Pentagon’s plan with over $700 billion every year. So where does it go? Well, you have to buy the new, the new drone we have out because the, the software’s a little bit faster than your old version. Okay. Well, what do we do with the old version? Let’s give it to police officers because sure they, they need a drone, for some reason. I’m not talking about the little ones you can go buy at Best Buy. I’m talking about a literal military grade drone that you see flying from the US over in the Middle East. I mean, that’s what we’re dealing with here.

Mike Papantonio:             It can carry a missile, if you have to.

Farron Cousins:                  Exactly.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So here it’s, it’s a recruitment tool. That’s the other part of it. Kid wants to be a policeman. Look I’m, you’re going to look like GI Joe, before you get done. No, you’re not going to have to serve in Iraq, but you’re going to be right here in the police department and you’re going to be dressed up like a, you know, like a ninja, a ninja soldier. And it’s kinda, you know, it makes sense. It’s a draw for, for kids coming out of school and maybe out of junior college that want to do this. I can’t, you can’t blame them for it. But it’s not really accomplishing anything. And the next question I had, well, is it about police safety if they have all these toys, what does it say about police safety?

Farron Cousins:                  Well, unfortunately these new studies show that this program has done absolutely nothing to keep officers safe. You still are seeing the same number of police officers killed every single year, including those who are driving around in the tanks, using all this fancy military grade riot gear. It, it’s not keeping them safe. And in fact, it’s not keeping communities safe either. If anything, these reports show it’s making communities feel more under attack.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. Let me.

Farron Cousins:                  They view this as a threat.

Mike Papantonio:             Let me give you other side of it. Okay. Here’s the other side. There’s always many sides to everything. You have the cartel, the drug cartel on border States in the United States. They’re starting to see new increases of crime with a, basically cartel coming right over the, right over the border. And they’re saying down on the border, we need this because the Mexican cartel is armed better than we are. And that is true. That is the truth. So that’s their best argument right now. But I’m hearing it more and more that that’s why we need all of this stuff. We need drones. We need tanks. We, we need this stuff because the other side has it. And the other side now is Mexican cartel moving into the United States. What do you think?

Farron Cousins:                  Well, you know, there could be an argument made for that, but I think you’re talking about, you know, this should be something dealt with by a different government agency. Not your local police force. So that’s where, you know, if you needed this surplus material for that, the 1033 program should instead say, let’s not give it to Barney Fife over here at your local police station. Let’s instead, maybe put this on the border patrol on, you know, customs, whatever.

Mike Papantonio:             A new entity.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. You know, something that actually deals with that. The FBI, not that we want them, you know, we don’t really want any of this out there, but we also have to be realistic and understand threats do exist.

Mike Papantonio:             You have to answer.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             You have to answer that argument when it’s made, but I think you may be right there.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.