US (Greed)— Of all the talk, debate, and observations over the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), there’s one thing I find absent. We’ve all talked about militarized police operations, whatever our stance is. Very few, if anyone seems focused on what happens to officers after policing DAPL.
What are the psychological ramifications of participating in such an unusually prolonged display of force and violence? Who were the deployed officers, and how experienced were they? Are there risks to returning them to “everyday community policing” without evaluation?
Though routine policing isn’t as dangerous as some let on, it’s no cakewalk. Policing puts officers at risk, especially when they’re pressured to initiate contacts. Say, when arrest quotas are involved.
Every so often, officers must undergo psychological evaluation to assess their ability to continue work. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also becoming increasingly acknowledged in law enforcement. If we’re to do the right thing, and see police as humans, then we must also consider events like DAPL.
Looking back at footage from the clashes, one thing is clear. While some officers grinned, smiled, and laughed during crackdowns, others had a different reaction. In at least one incident, personnel stationed at DAPL turned in their badges. Other departments pulled their officers and deputies following outrage back in their home states.
Assessing DAPL’s negative psychological consequences is complicated by the origin’s of personnel. DAPL officers came from several states under an EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) order. These, normally intended for natural disasters, were unprecedentedly used in North Dakota. As a result, the sum force included federal agencies, sheriff’s deputies, and state patrolmen. Their numbers varied, with Wisconsin State Patrol dedicating less than 20, for example.
Ohio also deployed state patrolmen, but now won’t disclose what all they did. More specifically, officials won’t make public DAPL use-of-force documents. According to The Columbus Dispatch, 37 state troopers went as part of North Dakota’s anti-activist EMAC. Police officials, citing concerns over trooper safety, stated the public isn’t entitled to know what force officers used at Standing Rock.
Police officials not only called the documents “security records”, but argued that officers have a 14th amendment right to privacy. Hold the hell up. Where were all those cops–sworn to uphold the constitution–when the rights of DAPL activists were violated? The dozens of credible reports of electronic surveillance, searches, militarized raids, and elaborate intimidation don’t count, right? It’s scary that they can say that with straight faces.
Are cops and the politicians giving them orders the only American citizens with rights anymore? How dare any of them hide behind the constitution to justify what occurred in the name of big-oil. Even ex-Baltimore PD officer and Marine Corps vet Michael Wood Jr. told The Fifth Column News, “It feels rather odd to call the Morton County PD actions, ‘tactics’. They were more like, crimes.”
Beyond that, Ohio State Patrol spokespeople framed this as being unique to DAPL. Meaning, other use-of-force reports likely won’t be subjected to the same lock down.
Way to admit your own bullshit guys!
Columbus Dispatch also cites the stonewalling of other outlets–namely the Cincinnati Enquirer. These outlets requested documents other than use-of-force reports, moving the goal-post to include DAPL-document. The Enquirer filed a court complaint over records denials in a still ongoing legal battle.
“They are thumbing their noses at the Ohio Supreme Court”, said Columbus Lawyer and open records expert Fred Gittes. “We can never learn what they did? We are now openly espousing having secret police.”
It’s a problem already spread far and wide across the American continent. From Chicago to Milwaukee, Wauwatosa to Baltimore, and beyond, police appear to be transitioning. While open records requests are denied in some places, literal GITMO-style facilities periodically crop up elsewhere.
Increasingly, every day, we have a diminishing perspective of what those blue uniforms are actually doing. More so every day, police appear to be morphing from a familiar disposition into intelligence-gathering paramilitary units. Standing Rock was simply an opportunity to flex muscles and test some new toys.
But now, however they felt at the time, those officers are back to work at home. Are they a danger, were they psychologically evaluated after this intense action? Have any considerations been made to monitoring their activities? Can we expect what happened in DAPL to stay there for these officers?
If you’re in a state or town that sent officers to Standing Rock, how do you feel? You have no clue who those people were, what they did, and under what circumstance. Your police department, regardless of how much you think blue lives matter, won’t tell you. They care more about their reputations and their rights than your safety and your rights. People who worship police as gods need to get this through their heads immediately before the obvious happens.