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Militarization of the police: Bloomberg’s army

I wonder if the NYPD folks in blue were surprised to hear today that they constitute Mayor Mike Bloomberg's own, personal army. In remarks he gave last night at Cambridge's own MIT, Commander in Chief Mayor Bloomberg announced

I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have.

It sounds like so much braggadocio, and it is. As the Village Voice points out today, Vietnam actually has the seventh largest army in the world, with about 320,000 soldiers. That's just slightly a whole lot more than the 'soldiers' NYPD counts among its ranks of about 30,000.

But even if he wildly exaggerated that claim, Mayor Mike was onto something. Check the stats. 

  • The NYPD has military grade weapons, among them tear gas and the 'less than lethal' LRAD.
  • The NYPD has people stationed outside of NYC and even in far flung locales overseas. NYMag describes these 'troops' and their deployments:

There are now New York City police officers stationed in London working with New Scotland Yard; in Lyons at the headquarters of Interpol; and in Hamburg, Tel Aviv, and Toronto. There are also two cops on assignment at FBI headquarters in Washington, and New York detectives have traveled to Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, and the military's prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba to conduct interrogations. Members of the department's command staff have also attended sessions at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

So even if Bloomberg took a little bit of (strangely directed) liberty with his remarks last night, his larger point is correct. I suppose the question that raises is, who's your enemy, Mr. Bloomberg? Is it us? 

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