© New American
As the military transitions into a tech-heavy force, increasingly reliant on robots and drones, local police forces are looking less like law enforcement and more like heavily armored combat units.
Now, it seems they are starting to train like them, as well.
A story published by The State
newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, reported on recent secret joint training missions
between U.S. Army special forces and the Richland County (South Carolina) Sheriff's Department.
The article describes training exercises being conducted by "unidentified units" from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Ft. Bragg is the home of the elite U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC)
and the super-secret, super-deadly Delta Force.
A spokesman for the Richland County Sheriff's Department refused to identify who was participating in the exercise or why it was being carried out. The department did, however, issue a press release
, warning that the war games could get loud. "Citizens may see military and departmental vehicles traveling in and around rural and metropolitan areas and may hear ordnance being set off or fired which will be simulated/blanks and controlled by trained personnel," it declared.
As for why such combat simulations were necessary, the statement explained that they were a result of "Sheriff Leon Lott's longstanding commitment to making sure that deputies are trained and prepared for every event and potential threat and his desire to assist the military to ensure their preparations."
This synthesis of police and military is a threat to both civil liberty and a clear distinction between the purposes of the two organizations. The integration has progressed so far, though, that even the mainstream press is taking notice.