SWAT Presence at McKinley Hill Street Fair Draws Mixed Reactions

Over the weekend the McKinley neighborhood held its first street fair in several years. There was a great turnout, with perfect street fair weather and lots of family fun. 

We also heard that Tacoma's SWAT team turned out - mostly via several lively conversations on various social networks. To say people had mixed reactions to the SWAT presence at a neighborhood event would be an understatement.

It sounds like the police and their SWAT vehicle were invited to the event by organizers, and were giving tours of the vehicle to the public. It was nothing like the events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri over the last week, but for many who have been following that story, it was hard not to draw comparisons.

This week in particular, a SWAT vehicle is a pretty powerful symbol - whether of law and order, or of intimidation and threatened violence seems to depend on your perspective. The militarization of this country's police force is suddenly a hot topic. 

Leaving aside the specific, peaceful event in question, can have a level-headed conversation about these issues for Tacoma?

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Horrible timing.  There are certainly better ways for police to build a productive relationship with the community than showing off their paramilitary wares right after those over-the-top enforcement tools have been abused elsewhere.  But then I don’t even like military parades downtown.  I’m all for community appreciation of those who serve in the military and the police force (which are or should be totally different forms of service), but let’s celebrate the people and the service, not the deadly hardware and not policies with which many members of the community disagree.

August 19, 2014 at 10:45 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim Bowman

Whatever happened to Officer Friendly?

August 19, 2014 at 11:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Mister von Fritsch

Suddenly a hot topic?

Violent crime is down.  I see no justification for paramilitary gear.  The idea that they’d show off their gear in show ‘n’ tell fashion (and to impressionable kids) is frightening.  If you’re impressed by this and playing soldier in our city is an enticing incentive… you are not the type of person that should be on the force.


August 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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May 30, 2018 at 8:58 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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