Balko provides a short history of the “police-industrial-complex.” He blames its creation on federal programs that funnel military hardware to our nation’s police departments:
As the [Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR)] reported in 2011, military contractors now market directly to police agencies with messages that encourage the mindset that the military and the police are fighting the same battle. And it’s lucrative. The spokesman for Lenco, which makes armored personnel vehicles, told me last year that thanks to DHS, the company has sold at least one of its “Bearcats” to 90 of the 100 largest cities in America. The CIR reports that, “The homeland security market for state and local agencies is projected to reach $19.2 billion by 2014, up from an estimated $15.8 billion in fiscal 2009, according to the Homeland Security Research Corp.”
That not only means that there’s fortune to be made arming domestic police departments for battle, there’s also plenty of money left over to set up lobbying offices in D.C., hire former politicians and their staffs, and generally lobby Congress, the Pentagon, and the White House to ensure that these programs not only stay around, but that they grow in size and influence going forward.