Commonwealth Magazine’s excellent The Download newsletter offers a helpful recap of the militarization of Massachusetts police today, stuffed with useful links: “1,000 M-16 machine guns and M-14 automatic rifles” in recent years, among other weapons of war, for example, according to a June report by our ACLU.
Somewhere along the way, the Defense Department also sent the West Springfield Police Department two grenade launchers. Police Chief Ronald Campurciani told The Republican that the weapons were “old and antiquated” and would never be used. But he didn’t say the department would get rid of them either. Instead, they are stored in “an all-metal room.”
Gabrielle Gurley writes, “The Springfield Republican recently reported that DOD’s 1033 excess supply program allows small towns like Monson (14 M-16 machine guns and 5 M-14 semiautomatic rifles) Groton (17 M-16s) to add military weapons to their arsenals.”
We already have an Army, supported by the state-level National Guard, for national defense, with special controls established by the constitution and long custom to keep its immense power under proper controls. It is dangerous and bad policy, as well as an unnecessary expense, to create mini-Armies in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.