I believe that the legislature needs to hold hearings and set state wide policy on when, who, how and which agency of the police are allowed to bring out SWAT and Military type equipment. If the legislature needs to set reasonable policies for which agencies are allowed to have the heavy equipment we are seeing in Ferguson MO and Watertown MA, and set standards of excellence and training so the agencies that have this heavy firepower are able to use it well. The Legislature is failing our citizens if they do not address the issue and we will have an oppressive police state eventually because every police department will have the Military equipment and use it as often as they want. While I think the the police agencies in Massachusetts are not as inept as what we are seeing in Ferguson it is clear that the political system has not really paid attention to the freely available heavy equipment on offer from the Dept of Defense and Homeland Security and what that means for the public in the short and long run. We need to have the public conversation.
The police as centurion philosophy is also a problem, compared to police as a partner in the community.
I regard the shut down of Watertown for the terrorist hunt largely a failure to use resources well, and have not heard of any critical post event analysis of what was done well or badly. This needs to be publicly addressed too.
Given the current events, and our experience with heavy handed police action, it is time that an effort was made to impose a systematic policy on police militarization with an eye to laying out a framework when it is allowed to be used and who is allowed to possess it and the training required to retain it.