More Federal Police State “Stimulus”

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The Obama administration has announced the distribution of $1 billion in grants to hire 5,000 “local” police nation-wide.

That  figure represents merely a downpayment on the Obama regime’s program to help “stimulate” the economy by hiring more tax-fed state enforcement agents. Police agencies across the country have asked for a total of $8.3 billion in “stimulus” funds, and Obama has promised to seek funding for at least $50,000 new police officers.

Created by the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill, the COPS program has played a major role in federalizing law enforcement. As our country careens into a depression, the COPS program is providing funds to hire new police and to keep police on the payroll in states and municipalities facing severe budget cuts.

In a recent “Justice” Department podcast, Andy Dorr, Assistant Director of the Grants Administration Division for COPS, pointed out that the agency’s Hiring and Recovery Program provides funding to rehire officers who have been laid off, or who are scheduled for lay-offs, as a result of budget cuts.

Texas civil libertarian Scott Henson points out in his “Grits for Breakfast” blog that the COPS subsidies are fiscally problematic for cash-strapped state and local governments.

The Clinton-era legislation requires states and municipalities to retain the officers hired under the program after the grant elapses. That arrangement seemed a  lot more attractive in 1994 — while property values and tax assessments were headed skyward — than it does on the “Bust” side of the latest Fed-created mega-bubble.

Given the increasing demand for practitioners of state coercion, I suspect that Washington will adjust its COPS requirements to keep officers on the payroll, perhaps even nationalizing law enforcement outright. If the Feds are willing to nationalize General Motors, they certainly won’t simply sit by and allow the police state bubble to collapse.

Apart from seeking full employment for armed tax-feeders, Obama’s police state “stimulus” package is underwriting the purchase and deployment of portable electro-shock torture devices, also known as Tasers.

The July 26 edition of Columbia, South Carolina’s The State newspaper reports: “Columbia police officers will begin carrying Tasers in the coming months, thanks to $116,000 in federal stimulus money.” Oh, sure: Before they get their lethal new toys the Boyz in Blue will have to undergo training about the “do’s and don’ts” of officially sanctioned “pain compliance,” but on previous performance it’s doubtful than any of them would face repercussions for violating black-letter prohibitions on the use of Tasers against non-violent subjects.

Just in time to capitalize on the police state stimulus program, Taser International, one of the most profitable homeland security profiteering rackets, just announced the availability of the X3, an upgraded model of its portable torture device that can be used against three victims before reloading.

(This is an updated version of an entry written before the administration’s press conference this morning.)

(Thanks to John Perna for the heads-up about Columbia’s Taser subsidy.)

7:44 am on July 28, 2009