Yesterday, I was out riding my Suzuki. It was a beautiful day in North Jersey, so why not? I took a ride up PA 611, then 191 to Stroudsburg. That was ride I used to make all the time, but I hadn't done it in a while. Anyway, while I was out and about, I took a ride over to the Stroudsburg area of PA. I took a quick ride through ESU to see if any cute college chicks were still around; they were. After that, on the way out of town, I saw something that made me do a double take...
As I was crossing the Brown Street bridge, I saw a small, single axle dump truck hauling a trailer. That isn't unusual; you see many small dump trucks hauling trailers with backhoes, bobcats, etc. What WAS unusual about this particular dump truck & trailer was what was on the trailer: an M113 armored personnel carrier! Not only that, it was painted in livery denoting it was for the "Stroud Area Region" police. WTF does a small area police department need a M113?! I could understand a big city police department wanting one for SWAT operations against real bad guys or terrorists, but you don't see either of those in Stroudsburg, PA!
The M113 was painted in a semi-gloss black with white lettering. The word 'police' was in large, capital letters, while the the department name was painted in smaller letters below 'police'. I did some quick searching, and it seems that Stroud Township, Stroudsburg, and East Stroudsburg have combined their police departments into the Stroud Area Regional Police Department. Again, I could NOT believe what I was seeing, because the Stroudsburg area is a nice, sleepy college town with a good, regional hospital.
Oh, by the way, the truck towing the M113 went over a 13 ton bridge! That's right; they violated the weight limit of the bridge. According to Wikipedia, the M113 alone weighs 13.6 tons. That's short tons, which is the ton used in the US; in fact, we just use ton to denote the 2,000 lb short ton. The truck and trailer had to weigh another five or six tons minimum, for a combined weight of of about 19 tons. Not only was the bridge rated for 13 tons (much less than the approximate 19 tons of the truck, trailer, and APC); it was old, so it may not even bee good for 13 tons anymore. Ah, but because it was a police vehicle, I guess it was ok; after all, the blue gun thugs can and do do what they want.
In closing, I cannot believe that a small, PA police force is using an M113 APC! I could understand a big city department needing one, but not a small police department. When would they ever need to do SWAT operations, let alone fight real bad guys with real weapons justifying the need for an M113? In any case, the police are indeed being militarized, and it's not a good thing. Until next time...