The Ferguson Riot Patrol

According to Wikipedia, the Ferguson Police Department sponsors a number of community programs.  D.A.R.E.  School Resource Officers.  Neighborhood Watch.  Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  Even a Business Watch.


Having reported on a number of company donations to police community programs, I can say that most of these are typical police public relations efforts.  You could find them in just about any town or city police department.  Business Watch, I must say, is a new one.


But the Ferguson P.D. community program that caught my eye was their Riot Patrol.  Riot Patrol?!  Very prescient of Ferguson to form one, preparing for the future.  How did they know?  Officer Wilson had no record of transgressing any police laws.


Once upon a time, it appears that Ferguson, Mo., was a suburban paradise.  A look at an aerial view of the town shows wooded cul-de-sacs and quaintly-named development roads and lanes: Thomas Drive, Louisa and Roberta Avenues.  Why, there’s even Suburban Avenue.  Developers used to name some of the roads in a development after their children (i.e., Heather Lane).


Then you come to the two-block section of Martin Luther King Boulevard.  To the south and west, there is utter devastation.  Roads devoid of all habitation, leading nowhere.  No one lives on Scott Avenue.  You have to go a long way on Roman Court before you come across any Romans.  Hugo Street, McHenry Avenue, Granbery Avenue, Frieling Avenue.  Not a house in sight.  Oh wait.  Here’s yet another Martin Luther King Boulevard, not connected to the other one.  That explains the dearth of housing.


Ferguson started out life as a railroad town.  After the war, white people decided to settle there.  Between 1940 and 1950, Ferguson’s population increased by 102 percent.  Between 1950 and 1960, it grew another 91.4 percent.  Finally, between 1960 and 1970, the population grew by another 29.8 percent.


Then the town began suffering a decades-long decline.  By 1990, Ferguson was 73.8 percent white and 25.1 percent black.  Ferguson had met that magic 25 percent number which some statisticians who deal with populations say is the tipping point.  By 2000, white people made up 44.7 percent of the population and blacks, 52.4 percent.  By 2010, the racial make-up was 29.3 percent white and 67.4 percent black.  The median income for the city by 2010 was $37,134, with 17.6 percent of the population below the poverty line.


So where did the white people go?  Apparently, some of them may have moved to the brand-new suburb of Sappington, Mo., to the south of St. Louis.  Incorporated in 2000, it’s a relatively small town with a population of 7,580, 96.7 percent of whom are white with a median household income of $44,117 (meaning they’re middle class) and only 2.9 percent of the population below the poverty line.


But to get back to the point of Ferguson’s riot patrol, why did the town need one?  When did they receive the money for the equipment?  Why did the government grant them the money and give the approval for such a purchase?  Was it to protect the town from “outside agitators”? 


Or were they more worried about the “agitators” within the town’s border?  The “peaceful” protestors, their supporters claim, were not interested in violence.  Yet their signs read, “No justice, no peace.”  Now residents claim that those were outside agitators, not Ferguson residents.  Still, it begs the question:  if the residents of Ferguson are so “peaceful,” why did the town police need a Riot Patrol?


When the white people left, they took their taxpayer dollars with them.  Ferguson’s city council had no choice but to beg the state and federal government for money.  What exactly is Ferguson’s history regarding crime and civil unrest?  What was Martin Luther King Boulevard (the north-south road) called before the name was changed?


Residents have complained about the city’s purchase of militarized riot equipment.  They claim that the equipment furthered the inclination to riot.  However, the equipment was not purchased, I daresay, prior to Michael Brown’s death.  Or the ensuing riots.  The riots began precisely after the convenience store video was released (as Rush Limbaugh noted on his show today), demonstrably proving that Brown was no “gentle giant” but a 6-foot 4-inch refrigerator of a thug.


Apparently, the riot gear expenditure was money well-spent, unfortunately for the former suburban paradise of Ferguson, Mo. 


Does Sappington have a police department Riot Patrol?  Does it need one?




Published in: on August 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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