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originally posted by: Wildmanimal
a reply to: ElectricUniverse
They need that and more because you live there.
The landing and take-off occured just a half-mile from Dallas Police Department headquarters. Maj. Max Geron, who oversees media relations for the police department, told TheBlaze he had no information about the helicopter or the flight. A call to the FAA was not immediately returned.
The heliport where the helicopter landed is just feet from the Dallas Convention Center and sits atop a parking garage. According to records, a private heliport that used to be owned by the Belo Broadcasting Corporation is in the immediate area. Bello was purchased by media giant Gannett in December 2013. Gannett representative Jeremy Gaines, however, told TheBlaze in an email that the company “doesn’t have a heliport in Dallas.”*
There is a military air base in the area, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, but a spokesman who answered the phone there said he had no information on the flight or the aircraft.
Military-style helicopters flying in urban American environments have taken place with some frequency of late. Just last month, residents in Minneapolis were surprised to see Blackhawks and Hughes 500 choppers buzzing through the downtown area. The flights were part of training exercises for the Department of Defense, but residents were upset that no one was notified until after the flights occurred. That wasn’t the first time it happened — the same thing occurred in 2012.
Similar exercises have taken place in both Miami and Chicago on several occasions. But as for the Dallas incident, so far no one seems to know why.
UPDATE 1 p.m. ET:
It appears the heliport where the helicopter landed is the Dallas CBD Vertiport, which is owned by the city of Dallas. A section on the Dallas Convention Center website describes its capabilities:
The public-use, elevated Vertiport is located on the south end of the facility. A dual deck and can accommodate three helicopters plus two vertical-take-off and landing aircraft at the same time. It features approximately 169,000 square feet of flight deck, a dedicated automobile parking lot, full service lobby including conference room, and waiting area for pilots. Both rotor aircraft and tilt-rotor aircraft, such as the Osprey V-22, can be accommodated at the Vertiport.
“The Vertiport is open seven days a week from 7:00am until 10:00pm CST,” it continues. “Prior flight arrangements are not necessary as the facility is staffed, and monitored by unicom frequency 123.05 MHZ.”
A call to the office that manages the facility seeking more information on the flight and its purpose was not immediately returned.
...Introduction - The ANG has a unique mandate in supporting civil authorities for a variety of mission roles not typically undertaken by active military components under “Title 10” …… This requires that the ANG acquire and maintain unique capabilities to meet this challenge.
Defense Industry-Backed Lawmakers Voted to Continue Police Militarization Program
Submitted by Donny Shaw on Aug 14, 2014
Local law enforcement around the country has become more heavily armed through partnerships with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. One of the key programs, the 1033 Program, allows the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) under the Department of Defense to transfer military equipment to civilian police.
In June, the House of Representatives voted on an amendment from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) that sought to partially defund the 1033 Program. The amendment failed on a bipartisan vote of 62-355.
•Representatives voting to continue funding the 1033 Program have received, on average, 73 percent more money from the defense industry than representatives voting to defund it.
•Fifty-nine representatives received more than $100,000 from the defense industry from January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2013. Of those only four supported defunding the 1033 Program.
As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) noted in a recent report, "it appears that the DLA can simply purchase property from an equipment or weapons manufacturer and transfer it to a local law enforcement agency free of charge." The ACLU states that 36 percent of the equipment transferred under the program is brand new (pg. 26).
This amendment didn't even target some of the common transfers: assault rifles, night vision goggles, etc.. These common indicators of police militarization would have continued to flow from the US government to law enforcement agencies unabated. Instead, 355 legislators voted that local law enforcement should still be allowed access to the following equipment:
Aircraft (Including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), Armored Vehicles, Grenade Launchers, Silencers, Toxicological Agents, Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, Mines, or Nuclear Weapons
One wonders if armored vehicles and drones had been struck from the list, the vote might have been more even. But phrased the way it was, if you still wanted your local PDs to acquire MRAPs, silencers and helicopters, you had to also give them the theoretical ability to requisition toxicological agents and ballistic missiles.
I don't imagine the government will be handing out guided missiles and nukes to law enforcement EVER, but what can be requisitioned is still partially a secret and information released to Muckrock by the Defense Logistics Agency only denotes which state received what, rather than indicate which law enforcement agencies were involved.
But even if the government has no intention of turning local law enforcement into full-fledged armies with nuclear/biological weapon capabilities, it's still handing over weapons and vehicles with little to no discretion. As Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post notes, if you can fill out one very simple form, you'll be able to roll down Main Street, USA in an armored tactical vehicle bristling with military assault rifles.
Applying for federal student aid? You'll need to fill out a 10 page application. Social Security retirement benefits come with an eight-page form, a passport application is six pages, and the shortform Obamacare application is five.
But if you are a law enforcement agency in the U.S., you can apply for a free armored tactical vehicle from the Pentagon with a simple one-page form, below. You can even apply for multiple vehicles using the same form!
Ingraham's article oversimplifies the process somewhat (a few layers of pre-approval are needed), but the fact remains that it's incredibly easy to outfit local law enforcement units with military gear. A vetting process with some teeth would likely have prevented small towns from acquiring vehicles designed to protect soldiers in combat zones from explosives.
Crime is way down and police are more heavily-armed and well-protected than ever. Part of it is defense contractors making sure there's still a growing market for their wares. As Maplight points out (quoting an ACLU report on police militarization), 36% of the equipment transferred to law enforcement via the 1033 program is brand new. What may have seemed to be a fiscally responsible program -- making use of excess military equipment rather than simply scrapping it -- is now another way to blow tax dollars. Only this time, it's having other adverse effects on the general public.
An amendment, offered by Mr. Grayson, to prohibit use of funds to make aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxocological agents (including chemical agents, biological agents, associated equipment), launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines or nuclear weapons available to local law enforcement agencies. Mr. Frelinghuysen raised a point of order against the Grayson amendment. Mr. Frelinghuysen stated that the provisions of the Grayson amendment sought to change existing law and constituted legislation in an appropriations bill. The Chair sustained the point of order.