Pod Squad on the Militarization of Hawaii Police Departments

Chad Blair, Sophie Cocke and Nick Grube discuss whether the build-up of military-style gear by local police departments could lead to a Ferguson-like clash in Hawaii.
By Mike Webb /

In light of the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, the Pod Squad turned its attention toward the increasing militarization of local police departments. Host Chad Blair was joined by Sophie Cocke, who last week reported that Hawaii has received millions of dollars from the Department of Homeland Security to aid the police.

And reporter Nick Grube, who won the top award from the Society of Professional Journalists for his five-part series, “In The Name Of The Law” series about HPD misconduct cases, joined the crew as well.

The Pod Squad discussed the types of equipment the police are using, whether it’s needed here, how it was obtain, and whether Ferguson-like protests could happen in Hawaii.

“I was in New York during September 11th and I certainly understand the fear a lot of people felt after that and the efforts to try to protect cities and your populations,” said Cocke. “The question is just whether these billions of dollars … have really made us any safer whatsoever.”

“I think back in the early ’90s a lot of police departments felt that there was a need for better artillery, as it were, because some of the criminals were better-armed than they were,” said Grube. “And so I think there was a push to boost SWAT teams and try to put police officers on equal footing with criminal enterprises that might have automatic or semi-automatic weapons.”

Listen to the full podcast here or subscribe to it via iTunes or Stitcher.

Mike Webb produces Civil Beat’s Pod Squad every week.

Want to hear more? Check out Civil Beat’s other podcasts.
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