June 08, 2011

Department of Education SWAT thing

By now you've all read this story about the Department of Education and SWAT teams. It turns out the story isn't precisely as it was first pitched.

Yesterday, the Department of Educationís Office of Inspector General executed a search warrant at a Stockton, Calif., residence with the presence of local law enforcement authorities.

WTF is the Department of Education doing executing search warrants. That is a law enforcement activity. It has ZERO to do with education. Apparently the Office of Inspector General at the Dept. of Education is "is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for the detection of waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs, and operations. As such, OIG operates with full statutory law enforcement authority, which includes conducting search warrants, making arrests, and carrying firearms."

Just to be clear; the Department of Education has its own armed, federal law enforcement office.

We can say that the OIGís office conducts about 30-35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.

Under no circumstances should a SWAT team be called out for bribery, fraud or embezzlement. None. SWAT teams are for violent armed felons. Did it occur to anyone that maybe local law enforcement could send somebody around early in the morning to, oh I don't know, knock on the door? Search the premises to look for the woman? Sure. This response is totally out of control.

I ask our liberal reader, is this not part of the Federal budget that should be cut? Does anyone think the Department of Education should have armed law enforcement officers of it's own?

I am in utter disbelief. How are there not lawmakers from both sides of the aisle demanding this office be stripped of its ability to have armed personnel?

Waste, fraud and abuse are the provenance of accountants and lawyers. If you have to arrest somebody, get a warrant and have either the local cops or the FBI pick these people up.

How many other federal agencies have armed law enforcement offices? Department of Labor? Commerce? Veterans Affairs?

Last question: How do you tell people with a straight face that you're a member of a SWAT team with the Department of Education? Any real cop would laugh their ass off at the idea of someone getting their SWAT gear on to look for an embezzler. I'm old enough to remember when cops considered themselves tough when they didn't need all the toys. Now it seems they all want MP5's and body armor for the most absurd reasons.

Indeed Don Viti has a post showing video of a police shooting. How many cops fired at that guy? Do you think that maybe that was a bit too much? Then the cop points a gun at someone with a camera. Combine all these stories with the Iraq war veteran who was shot 60 times and the countless other cases and you have overly militarized police forces.

This is yet another issue that should be uniting left and right and for reasons that escape me, it isn't.

Posted by Duffy at June 8, 2011 05:35 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

The DoED does not need a SWAT team. If they're serving warrants on non-violent offenders, then armed plain clothes agents would be advisable.

Whether they serve their own warrants or have another agency do it should be determined by workload. If there is enough work within the department to justify having their own agents to investigate fraud/waste/abuse, then they should have their own agents. Otherwise you're having to deal with an outside organization with it's own agenda, schedule, etc. Everything gets more complicated and the lines of communication get longer because things always ending traverse the longest possible management chain. It's much more efficient to keep that in house if possible. The agency gets to take out it's own trash (instead of being encouraged to bury it) and there are fewer inter-agency conflicts. Each major department having fraud/waste/abuse agents doesn't preclude them from cooperating on things like basic agent training, which they normally do.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at June 9, 2011 09:22 AM