Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by John Bear, Feb 2, 2019.
If you owe money on a student loan, be afraid.
That link leads to a bunch of news story headlines, and I couldn’t find anything about a DoE SWAT team.
There was a story from 2011 about this, however;
The Department of Education having a SWAT team, or even armed agents, is ludicrous. If a Federal agency usually not involved in law enforcement really *needs* a SWAT team, the US Marshal’s Service has teams nationwide, and their specialty is conducting high-risk search warrants (looking for Federal fugitives).
Hey maybe it’s a DeVos/Prince/Blackwater thing?
In 2011? That was 6 years before DeVos was even made Secretary of Education.
That was during Arne Duncan’s tenure, which begs the question, which was his bigger disaster, SWAT teams going after defaulted student loans, or Common Core?
I don't even see or understand what thing we are talking about? Paging Dr. Bear.
As for Bruce's article, both parties are in favor of such tactics and using more of taxpayer resources to erode liberties; we fund our own demise. The article in its entirety is an interesting conversation because, just like many things, there are reasons for or against the continual militarizing of our police forces. On one hand these resources likely keep them safer and on the other hand it erodes public trust and moves them from "neighborhood friend" to the enforcer.
I remember that during the Obama years, many unexpected and seemingly peaceful federal agencies were buying huge amounts of ammunition in bulk purchases. That led to shortages of ammunition on the retail market in the local gun stores, which undoubtedly was the intention.
That's in addition to the militarization of otherwise peaceful bureaucratic regulatory agencies, which may or may not be continuing.
A lot of that ridiculous outcry was built around people who honestly had (and have) no idea how government agencies are structured or that there may be a law enforcement function to their role.
Like when that member of Congress got all upset that he saw "IRS agents" firing rifles at FLETC during a tour and then got all huffy on the internet about why the IRS would need guns. It was posturing. "IRS Agent" typically refers to a Revenue Agent, an accountant who might well audit you. The people going to FLETC and being trained on firearms are Criminal Investigators. And those Investigators have been a part of the IRS for many years. People look at the IRS and think that it's just a bunch of pencil pushers who are hassling you over your withholding. Not realizing, of course, that they are also heavily involved in investigating white collar crime, money laundering and countless other things that are actual criminal investigations for which they require the same resources as any law enforcement agency.
Likewise, a typical person is often shocked when they find out that you can be a special agent with the Department of Commerce, the Postal Service, the Department of Agriculture or even the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Many of these agencies have had armed federal LEOs for MANY years. Them being armed is not new, not scandalous and certainly no indication that they are anything other than "peaceful." Heck, there are non-profit and government owned hospitals in New York that are undoubtedly buying ammunition and handcuffs and other things you might deem not "peaceful" as well. Because they have security teams, some of which have peace officer status. That doesn't mean those hospitals are not "peaceful." It simply means that they have a function, often within a vast and complex infrastructure, that requires some specially trained armed personnel to carry out a specific part of their mission. In the case of the hospital it is protecting the assets and inhabitants of the hospital. In the case of these agencies it is carrying out the law enforcement functions entrusted to the agency. Those functions might be fairly limited. They might be a tiny aspect of what the overall department does. But it's still part of their job.
. . . and deductions . . . hassling about deductions too. They are quite good at that.
As for the other stuff, thanks for the info. I, for one, was unaware of this and assumed that such matters were typically referred to the FBI, etc.
Those agencies have clearly defined law enforcement roles; the Department of Commerce investigates unfair trade practices, the US Postal Inspectors have the highest conviction rate of any Federal LE agency (and until the Internet, was the premier LE agency that investigated & prosecuted child pornography), the Department of Agriculture investigates illegal plants & produce being brought in the country, and quite a bit of crime happens at VA Hospitals, necessitating the uniformed VA Police and plainclothes criminal investigators (detectives).
As I mentioned, the agencies above have a defined LE function. But the Department of Education?!? What are they investigating, people who photocopy copyrighted textbooks, or if students are properly cleaning the whiteboards after class? There's absolutely no need for them to be armed, and especially to have a SWAT team or conduct dynamic search warrants.
In case anyone was wondering;
The Department of Education seems like every other federal law enforcement agency that primarily investigates white collar crime.
My apologies for not noting that the story is indeed from 2011: http://tinyurl.com/y9unndr4 It begins:
"Add the U.S. Department of Education to the list of federal agencies that can invade your home at gunpoint and hold you and your family in custody for hours. Kenneth Wright learned this the hard way last week, when federal "education" agents busted down the front door of his Stockton, Calif., home at 6 in the morning.
"They surrounded the house; it was like a task force or SWAT team," a neighbor told a national news affiliate. "They all had guns. They dragged him out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him."
Wright's terrified children -- ages 3, 9 and 11 -- were forced to sit in a patrol car for two hours. Wright himself was in custody for six hours. "I felt really bad for those kids," a neighbor said.
Federal agents for the Education Department's inspector general executed a very broad search warrant and seized paperwork and a personal computer. Wright says the law enforcement agents -- who reportedly included 13 with the Education Department and one or two Stockton police officers -- told him they were investigating his estranged wife's use of federal aid for students. But she doesn't even live in his house.
I think you'd be hardpressed to find a single federal department that doesn't have an Inspector General with agents who are federal LEOs. We're talking fully trained and armed. I, for example, was referring to the IG Agents at VA, not their uniformed police officers. If we're looping in uniformed officers into this discussion then the reach expands pretty dramatically. The CIA also has uniformed officers protecting their premises, for example, as do countless other agencies with far more mundane missions.
And as mentioned below your comment, so does the U.S. Department of Education. A department which funnels billions of dollars into organizations throughout the world by way of financial aid. The potential for white collar crime is very high. Far higher, I'd argue, than using said agents to execute raids for copyright infringement. But, after all, you did say that they have no need for armed agents at all despite being unaware of what they supposedly do. Tell me, how does it make you feel when outsiders make broad and uninformed pronouncements about the needs of you in your profession?
I am in this area of work and one such service that surprised me was the "Federal Protective Services" within DHS. One of their primary responsibilities is security and investigations involving GSA leased/owned federal properties.
Uniformed police officers are an entirely other matter. Anyone who walks around in public with a uniform that says “POLICE” while unarmed is lunacy in these times.
If you think that the Department of Education needs armed agents, especially a SWAT team, and doubly especially should be conducting dynamic search warrants, we’ll have to agree to disagree.
It’s been my experience that even agents of the major alphabet agencies (FBI, DEA, ATF, etc.) take things to the extreme when they get out of the office; look no further than the absolute disgraceful & embarrassing spectacle when the FBI arrested Roger Stone (ask the next FBI Agent you meet how many arrests he/she has made), I’m not at all comfortable with minor agencies doing the above.
The FPS has been around since the 1970’s, they were under GSA until the post-9/11 Federal law enforcement reforms, now they’re part of Homeland Security.
Understood. My interaction with them over the last few years has been regarding security for GSA leased buildings and active shooter training.
Here's something very interesting.
See especially pp. 22ff, which concern the office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (ASH) at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Between FY 2006 and 2014, the ASH spent $121.76 million on firearms, ammunition and military type equipment like body armor. That spending was distributed this way: $4.4 million to the HHS OIG, $106, 385 to the FDA, $112 million to the Department of Defense, and $6.82 million was undisclosed.
The breakdown of Health and Human Services spending for the DOD is interesting. Most of it went to special operations. Army SOFCOM $84,708,399, SOFCOM $13,882,133, Air Force $7,582,231, Navy $3,292,498 USMC $150,564. And this one is peculiar... SIGAR $98,079. (SIGAR is the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.) When questioned about about all these arms purchases for the Department of Defence, HHS blandly said that it's the result of a "coding error". Of course the suspicion is that DOD is engaged in various clandestine operations that they don't want on the regular DOD books.
The HHS spending on its own OIG is interesting too.
As late as June 2012, HHS only listed 94 NIH agents and 183 FDA special agents as authorized to carry firearms. There was no mention of armed OIG officers. Today it still isn't clear how many HHS OIG agents there are, what their precise function is, what training they have received or what they are armed with. But a federal contractor was boasting (on a now-deleted web page) about constructing them a "National Training Center" somewhere in the DC area.
You've not actually provided anything to disagree with beyond a notably uninformed opinion. You've made numerous assertions about the Department of Education which sanantone refuted with a simple google search. And while I understand you are not comfortable with "minor" agencies having federal law enforcement officers who, by the way, receive the same training as the law enforcement officers of "major" agencies, I guess I'm just not understanding why you feel so strongly about how agencies that you clearly know little about the inner workings of operate.
I have to hand it to you, arguing that a cop is poorly informed about law enforcement is pretty ballsy.
I am not Bruce so I don't know what his issue with the subject is, these are my thoughts about your post alone.
Training and experience are often very different things. When we put weapons into people's hands, combined with the power of the state to restrict liberties, it can turn into a very dangerous game. The ability of any agency to impact the "health" of the public through the use of force is not something to be used just because you can, regardless of what laws or allowances are made. All things being equal, if your area of work can be undertaken without danger to yourself or the public it should be done as so.
My agency carries weapons both while enforcing laws and treaties with public interaction and investigative services within the organization. Both groups are allowed to carry weapons while carrying out their duties and have considerably different training and experience; sometimes very minimal for the responsibility it requires. This potentially puts both the member and the public at increased risk and this is something we do routinely; if you are in an organization where this is an "occasional" occurrence, the risk increases drastically.
In situations where a SWAT or other tactical team is to be used, it is far better to use a team that does this on a regular basis and can be asked for through internal government agreements. But as the Roger Stone situation, and many similar incidents that ended up far worse, shows sometimes even with vast experience this responsibility can be yielded irresponsibly. If the organization has a legitimate need frequently and can build their own experience to carry out the tasks efficiently, the conversation shifts.
Separate names with a comma.