In Ferguson, Missouri police using military equipment to monitor crowd control after the August 9th shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is raising a larger question... Are local law enforcement officers across the country becoming too much like the military?
Police driving armored vehicles in Ferguson have used military style rifles, tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to disperse crowds and reduce violence in that city.
They're using weaponry that has trickled down from the military to local police departments.
Susan Jackson said, "We just don't have any need for it, it's unnecessary."
At the national level, libertarians like Republican Rand Paul agree.
"The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm," said Paul.
Paul is talking about a Defense Department program that gives surplus military equipment to agencies like the Marion County Sheriff's Department for free.
Marion County Sheriff Bo Burnett said his office just got 25 M-16 rifles and 3 Hummers, firepower he and other local lawmen say is necessary for the war on crime.
"There's a lot of dangerous weapons out there that the criminals have," said Sheriff Burnett. "I've seen situations in the past where police are outgunned, bank robberies and things like that."
Fox News personality John Stossel said he sees a dangerous trend.
He said, "If cops continue to take a warlike us-versus-them approach to policing the population, they just might bring the left and right together."
And he made that statement in July, several weeks before the violence in Ferguson erupted.
"I think we differ because we don't have as much," said Sheriff Burnett. "I'm not buying equipment to fight a war. I have a different need for it."
Detective Matt Blansett, "I can speak for our agency, we're not trying to become militarized. We're taking equipment that's been given to us and using it to benefit our department and also the citizens of Marion county."
In Marion County, Sheriff Bo Burnett says he'll make sure his officers are fully trained before they use the new military weapons.
by Jerry Askin