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General News    H1'ed 6/20/15

What were you doing on your vacation?: Returning Home to the US is to Enter a Police State

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Compare that to any US city. On my latest trip to New York, which has 50,000 cops for a city of 8 million people, I saw cops everywhere I looked (often in pairs!): in Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal you can see the next cop from whatever cop you're standing nearest to, and often armed National Guard troops too. Up on the street, police cars and cops on foot are ubiquitous. So are videocameras. The same is true here in Philadelphia, where there are so many police driving around it's hard to drive five blocks without seeing one.

Philadelphia, a city with a population of 1.5 million, employs over 6600 police officers. Montreal, a city of 1.8 million, in contrast, has only 4000 cops, and that's counting senior officers. To match Philly in cop density, Montreal would have to hire 3920 more cops, about doubling the size of its department. New York has 8 million people and 50,000 cops. To match its cop/resident ratio of 1/160, Montreal would need to almost triple the size of its police force.

America is awash in police. Even in my neighborhood, a suburb of Philadelphia called Upper Dublin -- a peaceful place with very little crime and almost no violent crime, with a population of 26,000 -- there are over 40 police officers. That's one officer for every 650 people! These cops spend most of their time sitting around near intersections nabbing people for rolling stops and minor speeding violations, or dealing with accidents.

There's also been a police hiring frenzy going on. It's not just more police getting hired, but more to "serve" the same population. For example, in 1992, there were 332 cops per 100,000 residents. By 2008, that had risen to be 373 cops per 100,000 -- a total of 772,000 full-time, sworn uniformed cops with a license to kill and an increase police density relative to population of over 12%.

Friends in Canada tell me their own country is becoming more draconian of late under the conservative government of Stephen Harper. We certainly saw that on display in Toronto in 2010 as militarized city and national police brutally confronted protesters at the G-20 economic summit event held there. But there's no question that things are much more advanced towards a police state here in the US.

Certainly if you have to tell a border agent what you were doing abroad before you can be waved back through into your own home country, things are going in a very bad way here.

DAVE LINDORFF is a member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, uncompromised, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, GARY LINDORFF, ALFREDO LOPEZ, LORI SPENCER, LINN WASHINGTON, JR. and the late CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)
 

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