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When and why did SWAT start wearing Black masks?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Tokugawa, Sep 4, 2007.

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  1. Tokugawa

    Tokugawa Member

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    I'm curious, it always seemed the bad guys should be the ones wearing masks. Hell, even the SS and Gestapo didn't wear them. So what's up with it?
     
  2. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    They don't want to be identified when the do a forced entry on the wrong guy's house. ;)
    Either that, or they finally come out with Kevlar ski masks.
     
  3. Roadwild17

    Roadwild17 Member

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    I'll take a crack at it.

    Suppose your on a swat team and you bust a house full of BGs. You arrest 3 and let like 7 go. That's 7 ppl that are probably ticked at you, and what could happen when they run into you and your family at wallyworld would make you want a mask.
     
  4. Lucky

    Lucky Member

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    Nolo they do make them. Kevlar has good insultating properties and heat resistance.

    Roadwild that sounds implausible.
     
  5. GhostlyKarliion

    GhostlyKarliion Member

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    um, how is it implausible?

    I had an unruly customer at work last night which we had to throw out of the store, we went to Denny's for lunch, guess who we saw at the restaurant? guess who tried to pick a fight at the restaurant? (and, on the same note, guess who got thrown out of the restaurant?... it wasn't us :D)

    if you can't see someones face then you usually won't be able to recognize them in public, if I dealt with violent murdering psychopaths on a daily basis then I wouldn't want them to see my face either.
     
  6. Gunnerpalace

    Gunnerpalace Member

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    I can definitely agree with roadwild on the identity issue especial after one moron in New York PUBLISHED the names and addresses of cops doing stuff like drug raids and such, I now understand why my father was so concerned with the familys safety when he was a LEO.
     
  7. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    Sorry I don't think they need to dress andlook like 3 world commandos. They are Police not military No matter what name they go buy.. The police have arrested and killed a lot of BG over the years with out all the commando gear. Its not needed and time they return to a proper police uniform This includes the SWAT teams. Not the ball caps. jump suits, boots, and other military gear. Want to dress like a solder join the Marines or Army.
     
  8. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    It is one of the unspoken rules of Law Enforcement that your face should be visible at all times. In fact, that's one of the reasons that the Brits did away with helmets in Iraq, because they were in a much more LE role than a military one.
    I think this rule applies to SWAT as well.
    Not that it's allowed in every state, but isn't that what concealed carry is for? To protect against weirdos bent on revenge (among other things)?
     
  9. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Member

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    Smugglers/dealers have CC video all over the place, plus the news cameras would love to put a shot of you in action on the evening news. Once you have a face you can get a name, once you have a name you can get an address, once you have an address you can come burn my house down with me in it.


    Then again there are a lot of bozos who think it goes with the outfit. I never minded showing my face until I got photographed for ID by somebody.
     
  10. 220_Swift

    220_Swift Member

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    Some SWAT members also do undercover work, and can't blow that cover. I have a cousin who is on a SWAT team and that is the only reason he wears a face mask.
     
  11. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    Fair enough to wear a mask in that scenario. However, I think that all UC guys should be UC full-time, because it would really suck to see your best buddy drug dealer Mega-G stopping traffic on Madison Avenue.
     
  12. jaholder1971

    jaholder1971 Member

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    lucky said:
    Kevlar ski masks are worn by firefighters for this reason as well.
     
  13. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    I never knew they made Kevlar ski-masks, but it didn't seem to be a long shot, either.
     
  14. Juna

    Juna Member

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    I think there are two sides to this.

    Sure, the masks protect the anonymity of the LEOs during raids/arrests of violent bad guys who might do them harm in the future.

    On the other hand, say they raid the wrong house. You see a bunch of masked guys run into your house with guns. Don't you think your interpretation of what's going on might be a little different than if they were all dressed like LEOs?

    Moreover, say some mask-wearing LEOs violate your rights during a botched raid. How do you identify them to complain (assuming you even survive)? I believe you have a right to know who's arresting you and why. I think being an LEO is a potentially dangerous job, but I think we, as citizens who pay the LEO salaries, deserve to know who is arresting us in case, for example, he/she violates our rights or behaves inappropriately.

    I think the police are becoming way too paramilitary--mainly b/c of the "war on drugs," which is ridiculous. If we ended modern-day Prohibition (AKA the "war on drugs"), we'd save over half our police budget and end all of this paramilitary nonsense. Sam's club would put your local street corner dealer/gang banger out of business in a week, and the LEOs would have less to worry about. We could topple the whole drug cartel economy if we legalized drugs in the U.S. So much money (PD, DEA, etc.) and so many lives are wasted on enforcing modern-day Prohibition. It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.

    Doing undercover work should be separate. You shouldn't pull double duty with undercover work and non-undercover work. That seems like common sense.
     
  15. JLStorm

    JLStorm Member

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    If my job was to break into someones house who was deemed as a serious threat to society Id be wearing a damn mask too.
     
  16. crazed_ss

    crazed_ss Member

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    They wear masks to hide their face. Also, they wear them to be intimindating. I was watching a program about SWAT teams on the History Channel and they mentioned SWAT purposesly tries to come off as intimindating as possible. They want the bad guys to think there is absolutely no way they can win.
     
  17. another okie

    another okie Member

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    I understand why police officers would occasionally want to wear them, but I don't think they should be allowed to. If they are undercover, stay undercover. If they are afraid of retaliation, there are ways to deal with that, as well. If the law they are enforcing is so unpopular that they don't want to be seen, perhaps they should give that some thought.

    In a democracy, police officers are servants of the people and should have faces visible and name tags at all times. I hate to see police officers dressed up like soldiers.
     
  18. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    Also for protection against chemicals? Throwing a pot of boiling oil was pretty good at changing intentions of attackers in the middle ages. These guys are running in with body armor, goggles, protective clothes. Probably want added protection against BGs with mace... or BGs with hot Crisco.
     
  19. Nolo

    Nolo Member

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    Amen, Okie!
    That's what separates a land under martial law from a land under civil law. In a land under civil law, the law enforcement should be civil, and, thus, unmasked and identified.
    It's just like reading your Miranda Rights, it's all about the accused being informed.
     
  20. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Some narcotics raid teams include guys doing undercover work. I have been along on such raids, and only the UCs are masked. Some SWAT types are wearing Nomex balaclavas for protection against some of the pyrotechnic stuff they deploy, or against perceived dangers posed by the subjects of a raid. LEOs who shoot criminals are also targeted by the news media and leftist groups who support criminal causes. That is a difficult burden to bear. Many agencies will not publicly reveal the SWAT guys who pull the trigger, unlike the patrol officers, who unfortunately, do bear the burden of being publicly labeled as killers. Is it right to protect the identities of SWAT officers? I am of mixed emotions about that; perhaps I should say that I am a uniformed patrol officer, whose every faux pas is subject to public scrutiny, and if I shoot someone again, the media will list every on-duty fender bender, every time I missed court, and my previous incidents involving deaths of citizens, right alongside my photo. If I am really unlucky, they will publish my home address, so people won't even have to do research to figure out where I live.
     
  21. Gator

    Gator Member

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    Criminals have long covered their faces to prevent identification by their victims. In a free society no government official should EVER cover their face.

    Remember when the police used to be "Peace Keepers"? They were respected then. Now they are militaristic thugs, acting in secret, who delight in trampling on our rights.

    Rexter, you sound like one of the few remaining decent, honest, law enforcement officers. I salute you for that.
     
  22. Threeband

    Threeband Member

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    Of course you can justify it any number of ways. But it doesn't change the core reality:

    The un-restrained growth of (secret) police powers and abuses of those powers signals the end of the Liberty our forefathers bequethed us.
     
  23. Juna

    Juna Member

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    Well said.

    I think that enforcing laws anonymously could be a slippery slope with respect to our rights. It sounds more like anarchy or the KGB when masked men break in and enforce their will on ordinary citizens anonymously. The police are public servants, not government enforcers. That's why I somewhat disagree with the term "law enforcement officer". I prefer "public servant" as that should be their primary purpose.

    Rexster, you sound like one of the truly good public servants. Keep up the good work, and thank you for your service to our society.
     
  24. another okie

    another okie Member

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    Rexter: Thank you for what you do for your community. You sound like a good officer. I don't know if your agency gives you any help in this regard, but here's some things you can do:

    1. unlisted phone
    2. home purchased in the name of a trust (trust name should be something anonymous)
    3. wife can use maiden name on the job
    4. live outside the jurisdiction of your agency
    5. don't tell people where you live that you are an officer (this is for general safety as well, since you don't want the clerk at the store to say "you're a cop, do something!" when the armed robbers burst in)
    6. mail should go to a post office box, which should also be away from downtown, and indeed the box can also be in a trust name

    These only work if you are in a big city, and it's sad anyone should have to do them.

    Actually most of these are something anyone can do. In my experience, social workers and teachers are more likely to suffer retribution than police officers, since officers are known to be armed and to have self-defense training, and since those who attack officers find themselves high priority suspects.
     
  25. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    Geronimo makes another good point. If you inflict damage on someone's face, you have a pretty good chance of taking them out of the fight. A pot of boiling water, a handful of sawdust, or some other particulate can blind, burn, or incapacitate an officer. A good nomex mask can do wonders for face protection.


    As for "the good guys should always be visible with a shiny name tag" idea, that is quite frankly archaic. The image of a street cop walking down the street twirling his whistle carrying a .38 revolver, helping Johny get a cat out of a tree is nonsense. A cop like that would get his ### handed to him in the real world. I for one am thankful that there are still people who want to be police period. For all the crap they get from armchair tacticools, the danger they face, the long strange hours, strain on families, and having to confront societies dregs day in and day out. If they want to wear some armor, clothing or weapons that makes sure they make it home so they can come out the next day and do it all over again, I am fine with it. I'm glad that there is someone out driving around at 2:30 am LOOKING for the bad guys who are looking for me. Let em stay safe so they can keep doing their job. And Lord help us all if they decide to quit because of the cost, hassle, and strain.
     
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