Clarifies Position Opposing CCPD Drone Program
January 2, 2020
In 'drone Program Receives High Marks' (Dec. 19-25, 2019 p. 1) Mr. Hadland writes: 'One written card objected to the program as drones are being purchased from a company that provides weapons to the military.' I am the author of that card, but Mr. Hadland seriously distorts my remarks. They appear in full below.
Dear Council and Public,
I am profoundly opposed to the CCPD drone program for many reasons. The one I wish to highlight tonight is that CCPD chose to purchase this equipment from Botach.com. Botach sells military weapons to police and the public. This represents an irrational and destructive enmeshment of police and the gun industry.
Police always say ‘we just want to make it home alive at the end of the day,' as if they are uniquely in danger, but we are all in that same danger. Our nation is flooded with guns. There have been mass shootings at schools, bars, malls, movie theaters, churches, offices, concerts, and every other place a person might go. We all have the same fear. I am a librarian. Staff and patrons have been killed with guns in libraries this year.
Botach sells these guns. The guns which the police fear will be pulled each time they make a traffic stop or knock on a door, and which we all fear will appear at any moment. Why are the police doing business with an arms dealer? Botach even works with police departments to resell confiscated guns. Police and Botach both profit from putting deadly weapons back in circulation.
If there is evidence that military technology makes police or citizens safer, CCPD has not presented it. They have invoked mass shootings to argue for drones and other military hardware, but the Santa Clarita school shooting last month took 16 seconds between when the killer began firing and when he killed himself. No police response or equipment could have affected it. Public safety is served by militant opposition to the gun industry and culture, not paramilitary participation in it.
I call for strict purchasing guidelines to prevent further fiascos like this, as well as an immediate end to the CCPD drone program, an investigation of its origins, and greater outside oversight of CCPD decision-making. We are better than this. Thank you for your time.
Editors Note: While we stand by the accuracy of our story and the comments reported we are pleased to be able to run the complete text of comments Mr. Schwartz made in his written statement to the city council which help clarify his position.