Sheriff says Public Opinion won’t Decide MRAP Debate

July 9, 2014   |   Justin King

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Justin King | The Anti-Media

After The Anti-Media’s article was published on Walton County, Florida’s acquisition of an MRAP armored vehicle, debate has raged across the sparsely-populated county. Sheriff Mike Adkinson has made the debate irrelevant by stating that public opinion will not sway his decision in matters of deputy safety. He did not publicly address the fact that many of those who oppose the MRAP are concerned with an escalation in violence resulting in injuries to deputies.

The disregard for the public’s wishes in this case should be noted heavily. When the Sheriff decides that deputy safety calls for no-knock warrants and flash-bangs on citizens suspected of minor crimes, are the opinions of Walton County’s residents void then as well? This isn’t conspiracy theory. This is the road the Walton County Sheriff’s Office is currently on.

The biggest misconception is that Walton County deputies are being shot at and killed off at some unimaginable rate. The incident of officer death by gunfire in Walton County certainly does differ from the national average, but it isn’t higher. The last time a Walton County deputy was shot and killed was over 70 years ago. Only those that can remember where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, stand a chance of remembering the incident.

Walton County lawmen do occasionally have to deal with roadblock situations, but rather than simply allowing the Sheriff to pull an isolated incident from years ago, citizens could review one of the more recent roadblocks to occur in the county. In the county seat, cops rapidly and professionally conducted a roadblock saving hundreds if not thousands of lives. The officers successfully protected the community from stingers, but they weren’t the infamous stinger missiles sought after by insurgents in Iraq; and unfortunately for the embattled Sheriff, none of those saved were registered to vote in Walton County. They were migrating honey bees that the environmentally-conscious Defuniak Springs Police protected as they swarmed on a public road. The cops held traffic until a beekeeper could come rescue the creatures that have been dying at alarming rates. This is the type of community-oriented action residents expect from Walton County law enforcement officers.

US Congressional Candidate Mark Wichern, who lives in Walton County, commented about the Sheriff’s new toy saying

“I am very suspect and have a very uneasy feeling about the military vehicles being purchased, especially in a county like ours.”

Supporters of the Sheriff point to his pledge not to confiscate weapons from the public even if ordered to as proof of his good intentions. Sheriff Adkinson should certainly be applauded for standing up for the rights of residents; however Sheriff Adkinson will not take the MRAP with him when he leaves office. It will remain a weapon in the county’s arsenal. As is typically the case in local southern politics, supporters of the Sheriff’s plan really don’t care about the issue, but are instead focusing on the fact that they know Adkinson is a “good guy.” Sheriff Adkinson’s character is not part of the debate. To simultaneously worry about gun confiscation, but support the militarization of a hometown law enforcement agency displays a level of cognitive dissonance that might require serious psychological treatment.

The debate is centered on finding out exactly how the Sheriff plans to deploy the MRAP. With the notable exception of intimidating the public, there is little use for an armored vehicle in Walton County’s arsenal. Adkinson’s comments do little to clarify his intentions. After his original statement was debunked, Adkinson has focused on stating the MRAP will be used as a negotiation tool. He told the Northwest Florida Daily News that

“It gives us the ability to get close to somebody to talk to them without being in harm’s way.”

More than twenty years ago, the tactic of a deploying a “Throw Phone” became the standard method of communicating safely with a barricaded suspect when another phone is not available. In barricade and hostage situations getting close and forcing a military response is the single most dangerous method of ending the encounter. As a law enforcement website states:

“Tactical assault to rescue the hostages carries the highest casualty rate.”

A “Throw Phone system” is exactly what it sounds like. A phone that is only capable of contacting the negotiator is thrown or delivered via robot to the suspect to enable deputies “to talk to them without being in harm’s way.”

The MRAP is not without civilian uses. The Walton County Fire Department could certainly deploy the MRAP during hurricanes to retrieve those that refused to evacuate. The weight of the vehicle minimizes the chances of it being blown around by wind, and its height and 4-wheel drive capability would allow it to travel through flooded areas or washed out roads.

If the Walton County Sheriff’s Office sees fit to transfer the MRAP to the Walton County Fire Department for this purpose, I will personally obtain a suitable cellular “Throw Phone” system as well as a land line system for the areas of the county that are still too rural to have reliable cellular coverage. Both systems will be given to the Sheriff’s Office at no cost.

This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Justin King and TheAntiMedia.org

Author: Justin King

Justin King joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include activism, human rights, international relations, and military affairs. Born in Japan, he currently resides in the United States.

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30 Comments

  1. Deputy safety????? This guy must think we are all morons. POS!

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  2. Thermite. Problem solved.

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  3. Not surprising that a sociopath in the police department wants to keep a tank that has no justification in being used for law enforcement purposes. I'm hard pressed to find a larger group of criminals than those that wear badges, and make no mistake about it, they view citizens as the enemy.

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  4. Ultimately its the peoples responsibility. Show him that public opinion matters by voting him out of office. I bet he will change his mind then..

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  5. Wont help, the next elected sheriff will have it still.

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  6. Curtis Curtis I guess just keep voting them out until they get rid of it? That's the only plan I have that doesn't involve blowing it up in the middle of the night.

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  7. With what is going on nationally with the current administration, I would hope that a local official would have some form of protection if the feds decide to come calling. Since the sheriff has made his case that he will not take law abiding citizens weapons, maybe his plan is more on the lines of protecting citizens from the feds. Just a thought.

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  8. This is nothing more than some "D" Student kids stealing from Mothers purse to buy some useless junk they don't need.

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  9. Christian shitting terrorists with badges.

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  10. That is a Sheriff who should be relieved of his weapon, responsibilities, and job. The will of the people is the foundation of our Constitution and country. Everyone seems to have forgotten this. Cops with more weapons than the military are a serious issue in regard to public safety. This guy is a megalomaniac.

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  11. Vote him out of office and force the county to sell the damn thing.

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  12. It just goes to show you that blood thirsty, and a tiny dick do not mix well.

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  13. Just tell you city counsel to cut the sheriffs funding to remind him who pays the bills.

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  14. Alan Williams And now you see how voting is very ineffective. It doesn't work.

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  15. Johnna Bartholomew Ok thats fine…so what's your plan then? I mean whats the alternative?

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  16. The thing is when a small local govt takes the grant to buy this MRAP they actually have to agree to use it for FEDERAL purposes when called upon.

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  17. Johnna Bartholomew : I understand what you're saying, but if the Federal Gov. decides to go against the constitution and fight it's citizens on situations like gun control, etc, then they are no longer a lawful government. Therefore, any agreement local gov has with them is void.

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  18. That's ok, the militia will have no problem taking that for our use if needs be.

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  19. When the elected official decides to ignore the master, the time has arrived to completely shut down the servant, his help and anybody else that refuses to obey the demands of the owner. The will of the people shall ALWAYS be superior to any desires of the SERVANT! This sheriff is absolutely insubordinate, and this single act is proper grounds for PERMANENT removal from his job.

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  20. Curtis Curtis: The citizens should take control of the vehicle, it lawfully belongs to the people that paid for it, TAKE IT!
    The sheriff is nothing but the servant to the people, and by law, the equipment the office has, belongs to the people, and NOT the sheriff. His office might be in possession of it, but the legal ownership remains with the people only, Take control of it and do with it as the people see fit!n

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  21. Spray paint it with gasoline, and inform him that if the vehicle is moved off the property it is currently stored on, it WILL be destroyed.
    I doubt the sheriff has the cajones to even THINK of assaulting a few dozen armed citizens should they decide to repossess the vehicle and turn it into scap metal, or repurpose it for LEGITIMATE needs, as stated previously; FIRE DEPARTMENT use, to SAVE lives, not extinguish them, as this is the ONLY thing police have proven to be good at.

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  22. Police actions have NEVER proven to support the citizen, they have held that the people they are hired to defend, are nothing but minions of the all powerful Oz, and only the sheriff makes the rules, oh how WRONG he is! The people have far more power and ability to MAKE him do as they demand, but if the people back down and play SHEEP, the sheriff WILL use the opportunity to usurp control and ACT as if he is the master, and then the only path left will be to take the sheriff OUT by firing a single bullet, to PERMANENTLY show WHO is the BOSS! The remainder of the sheriff department will no longer assume to be the master, and will begin to ACT as the SERVANT they are hired to be.

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  23. I don't think the sheriff came up with this all by himself. Who "ordered" him to accept this idea and then take the heat?

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  24. Dont worry they will start loosing fingers by closing them in their hydraulic doors cause their dumb…or maybe they will run something or somebody over with it. Those things are no joke. I used to work on them everyday. They are awesome though.

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  25. Ernest Erickson…repurpose it….by confiscating it during the martial law phase of our government's ongoing/upcoming treason…and turning it around on the local/state / federal/foreign/UN law enforcement types…when the SHTF…see how they like it then….

    RJ O'Guillory
    Author –
    Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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