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Orange County, Florida Sheriff Blithely Proclaims: ‘We Are A Paramilitary Organization’

August 15, 2013 by  

A Wednesday Orlando Sentinel report on a hiring spree at the burgeoning Orange County, Florida Sheriff’s Office quoted Sheriff Jerry Demings unironically describing his department as a “paramilitary organization.”

From the story:

An improving economy has allowed Demings to open 125 positions that have been frozen since 2009. So far, 60 have been filled as the pool of qualified applicants grows with service members leaving the military and entering civilian life, said the Sheriff’s Recruiting and Background Manager Mary Ann Salazar.

“We are a paramilitary organization, so hiring veterans makes sense, and its important to the sheriff to bring in these highly skilled men and women,” Salazar said.

Demings said more than half of the deputies hired into one of the $38,000-$40,000 per-year positions come from a military background. The sheriff’s comments demonstrate an obvious confidence in the quality of his new hires, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But it’s incredible how oblivious more and more officers, police chiefs and sheriffs – many of them conscientious and well-intentioned – are becoming to the changing character of law enforcement in America.

The same goes for the general public. The Sentinel report eschews even a passing mention of the trend, and doesn’t make any connections between Orange County’s hiring pattern and the overall movement, Nationwide, toward the militarization of our civilian public servants in the law enforcement field.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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