We’re all for safety and security, but when the military deploys “courtesy patrols” to police city streets in America at the behest of an elected official, in this case the Mayor of Columbus, Georgia, it should raise an eyebrow.
The Mayor of Columbus has good intentions, but then, the road to hell is paved with those, is it not?
Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (18 U.S.C. § 1385):
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Source: § 1385
According to the report, however, the soldiers will not be acting in a ‘policing’ capacity, in that their job duties will not include detainment, arrest, or seizure, thus the actions taken by the Mayor and the military may circumvent the Posse Comitatus Act.
As we’ve reported previously, there may come a day when you’ll see US military personnel deployed at every Seven-Eleven in America for the sake of security. We are, just as with the TSA’s patdown policies, being desensitized to the idea of military patrols.
Those Americans like the women interviewed in the video clip below, who would sacrifice personal freedom for security, likely have little idea for why Posse Comitatus was passed in the first place – or that such a law even exists. In fact, in the interviewees own words, the patrols “might not be enough.” One day soon it may be more than enough and Americans may get a chance to see why military policing is a danger to liberty. As we have previously noted the Pentagon and Military Actively War Gaming ‘Large Scale Economic Breakdown’ and ‘Civil Unrest’ and the National Guard is Training For Riot Control and Mass Detentions.
Coming soon to an American street corner near you.
UPDATED: 04-25-2011 12:20 PM (User feedback has made it necessary for us to update the language of this report to more accurately reflect our views. It was not our intention to suggest that the Mayor of Columbus is guilty of violating Posse Comitatus)
This article misconstrues what exactly a courtesy patrol is. The courtesy patrol is specifically devoted to handling SOLDIERS who get out of line. They have absolutely zero authority over civilians. Essentially, the patrol is there to protect civilians from drunk soldiers who would do them harm.
I suppose this can still lead to some desensitization of seeing troops in the streets, but it in no way violates posse comitatus.
Sounds like they are trying to control the behavior of off duty military personnel not civilians.
OK, I was in the military (Army) from 85-89 and we had CP over seas in Germany and back home. Now what CP does is keeps the soldiers in line with the use of the UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice). Now, if they begin to enforce ANYTHING with civilians, then we have a problem. I am not sure how close Columbus is to Fort Benning, but if it is close then it would make sense. The military policing it’s own is expected. When they start trying to enforce cilian law, that is when police state is in full swing.
All I saw in the above video is the base commander trying to reduce casualties and fights with young soldiers and the civilian population around his base (if his base is close, I don’t remember). While this looks bad on the surface, unless this is a first step in ‘desensitizing’ the civilian population to having roving military patrols, it is not a bad thing. Especially since Benning is an infantry base and having a bunch of amped up kids learning new infantry skills and wanting to put them to the test in a fight with some poor local kid. That is a recipe for disaster.
If a civilian cop tells a soldier to go back to base because he is drunk, the soldier can tell him to go to hell. If a senior NCO or officer tells him to go back to base and he doesn’t, that kid is in a world of hurt. I guess it depends on why are the soldiers really patroling. You guys make the call. Maybe I am just conditioned to the CP’s and aren’t worried about it. That is a definite possibility. I will take all comments and condemnations on this subject. You guys won’t hurt my feelings.
@Justus / Russell1200 – I agree with both of your assessments. Based on the directives, it seems that this particular “policing” action does not violate Posse Comitatus. However, I felt it is necessary to at least bring the issue to light.
These military officers may very well be presented with a situation where they will have to cross the line into policing action of non-military individuals. This is where the danger arises.
Thank you kindly for the comments.
I think you’re off on this one. The military has done this in the past to police up their own in towns and cities located next door to military bases. This is in response to lower enlisted creating problems off base and downtown. Lower enlisted fear and respect senior NCOs more than they do the local LEOs. Most civilians don’t understand that UCMJ is a lot tougher and punishments are very harsh compared to civilian law.
What a dangerous and slippery slope this is, this will evolve, bank on it!
Columbus is the GI town outside Ft Benning. Back in ’69 and ’70 when I was stationed there, CPs in the form of MP (military police) were a common sight.
Pot usage among the GIs was ubiquitous. Now with the rise of far more dangerous drugs and the money-driven violence, CPs make sense. Imagine a group of soldiers getting ripped off. No gang-banger or ripper stands a chance against a determined group of 11Bs (infantry). The CPs do a good job of policing the troops.
There have been several cases where the GI town failed to police itself and this resulted in the town being declared “off-limits.” This effectively kills the local economy and brings enough pressure on the GI town to clean itself up.
Now if we see CPs tasked to areas outside the GI towns, it is time to be concerned. This could result in some whacko blowing their cool and committing violence against the CPs. Keep in mind that Posse Comitatus provides for deploying troops domestically under certain circumstances.
This is a red herring, but the cost of freedom is eternal viligance.
Can my fellow frogs feel the pot begin to boil in earnest now?
I remember MP’s all over California – no problem, but in this instance it just shows the Mayor has a crappy police force because in most States the local police would arrest you.
Why don’t they just use MP’s. Isn’t that what their job is? Could be an issue with payroll. MP would be on the clock and Courtesy Patrol (sounds like they would help little old ladies across the street) is a unpaid status.
I’ve heard of a “Courtesy Flush”, but never a “Courtesy Patrol”. Are they connected somehow?
It’s funny how things like this get blown out of proportion at times. Since I live in Columbus I figured I’d offer some perspective.
The CP have zero authority over civilians, and very little over active-duty soldiers. They are there simply as a “Hey soldiers! We’re walking around! So, uh, don’t screw up or you’ll be in trouble with your sergeant!” That’s it.
Columbus and Fort Benning are literally on top of each other–the border of one runs into the other. The areas where the CP operate are limited to the downtown “bar and restaurant” area where for years, off and on, soldiers have posed a significant problem. Back in ’06 or ’07, they had a CP with MP officers at the ready to cart soldiers back to the base. The word got out, and the soldiers behaved themselves, and the CP ended.
Now, you’ve got a fresh batch of guys coming through (and coming back from overseas), and they’re causing trouble, so the Mayor and police have asked for the CP once again. When the trouble dies down, the CP will go away, just like last time.
Not EVERYTHING is heinous, people.
Responding just to JJSan’s comment, “If a civilian cop tells a soldier to go back to base because he is drunk, the soldier can tell him to go to hell.”
That really depends on jurisdiction. A city or county police officer/deputy sheriff has no power on federal land for example, Ft. Benning. However, if a soldier steps off federal land and into the officer’s jurisdiction, like the city of Columbus, GA , the police officer might be willing to cut the soldier a break and ask him, politely, to return to base…but if that soldier doesn’t take the warning and go back he’d be risking an arrest on charges of public intoxication or other generic “drunk and disorderly” charge.
Been there in Columbus. A Marine in uniform stands out in an Army town and on an Army base. I have to side with OTE and those who understand the tremendous military presence in that city from the base.
These kinds of curtesy patrols are nothing new, rather they are commonplace for Oceanside, San Diego, and Anaheim California.
Sorry, Mac! No story here! 🙂
Just don’t see the problem here. Guess when I think about it, I would’ve assumed before this article that this kind of thing was already happening, especially since Ft. Benning IS Columbus, GA.
I was stationed in Erlangen, Germany and going around neighboring Nurenberg, we saw MP’s in Humvees all the time. As a soldier, we were glad they were there….helped us out if we needed it and kept us in line if we were getting a little rowdy.
From what I got from the article, the soldier’s used are going to be NCO’s who are not MP’s…
I think I’ll be a little more concerned when i see stories about FOREIGN troops patrolling downtown, but never underestimate the gov.
This makes me think about the FEMA request for information for 140 million food packet with only 36 months left on them. I panicked a little. Then, a friend of mine who is former military, now working in military consulting, said that the government often works in 36 month cycles.
So, the timeframe of the RFI may have nothing to do with an expected situation occurring soon. It may simply be a cyclic thing.
Anyway, as posted above “eternal vigilance”.
Comments….. Just the first of many actions soon to come. I see the military policing McDonalds and such with all the outbreaks of violence against customers. Even the employees are video tapping the brawls and standing back and doing nothing.
Anyone been to Mexico lately? The military are on the streets in full force with guns ready to fire. That will be here soon enough.
Can anyone see!! This is one way the goverment is introducing the military on the streets until the sociaty accepts it as normal. This is totally wrong!! this are exersises that are been intruced for a reason, THINK!! is for the protection!! Military does not belong in the streets!!! They belong in the trainig facilities to defend our country!!!
This is crap, Have you ever been around a group of drunk soldiers. Not all soldiers are the “hero’s” the media makes them out to be.
I think this specific incident is being blown out of proportion, *HOWEVER*, regardless of the mayor’s or any other local official’s intensions, this could be used as desensitization. Think about it. We start having CPs all over the place, We’re told they don’t have any authority over civilians, but they are they. We get used to them. They grow. Get bigger and more wide spread. Pretty soon they’re everywhere. Not problem,l right? No authority. Then, suddently, they are given the authority.
I’m not sure if I can feel the pot boiling but it might be a suttle attempt to turn up the heat just a little. Probably not by the local officials but possibly outside coercion. Don’t know. Just thinking out loud.
There is a danger too of over reaction and we look like tinfoil hatters making something out of nothing. The fact is, look what we’re doing with the TSA. First they’re just there a little, then a little more, then more and more and MORE and *M*O*R*E* and now they’re taking naked pictures of you and your wife, shoving your DNA around with their giant electronic porn machines and groping your 6 year old daughter.
Don’t tell me it can’t FUCKING happen, cause, it just did! We MUST keep an eye on things like this, sensibly. Even blowing it out of proportion a little is OK but we must keep an eye on it!
Comments…..just exactly how many soldiers are walking the streets of Columbus, Georgia for these “courtesy patrols” to patro?
Shouldn’t the MPs be “policing” up the drunk GIs? I know they did alot of that in Germany because I was one the drunk GIs they were watching over.
downtown columbus will benefit from the supervision, some of the soldiers that are having a little down time don’t make good drunks- a few instances make the news and ppl stay away which is bad news for business, that’s all this is letting ppl know its safe to come to the bars again everyone is playing nice. I live 5 min from the bars,lucky me
This reminds me of last year at a university homecoming parade. They had military (Guardsmen) standing at intersections of the parade route. I think that they just think that it is a ‘free’ way to get policing help.
This is an email I got from the mayor of Columbus GA yes I live in Columbus GA and the city is maybe 5 miles from any direction to the base. You tell me this mayor does not have a clue. I will post another email from her in a few minutes that contain my response back and her next response.
Sent: Mon 04/25/11 9:04 PM
Re: Military Patrol
The users email-address has been added to the addressbook
Thank you for your inquiry. Because, as you acknowledge, you don’t know what a Courtesy Patrol is, your entire premise is flawed. They are most certainly not Military Police so none of your concerns related to Posse Comitatus are pertinent. As for Public Intoxication note the qualification that there must be boisterous, indecent, etc. conduct in order to justify an arrest.
Courtesy Patrols are not uncommon in other communities throughout the U.S. I’m sorry we disagree, but I stand behind my decision and my comments.
Thanks again for your inquiry.
—– Original Message —–
Sent: 04/25/2011 06:12 PM
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: Military Patrol
It appears that you and the Columbus Police department are not capable to protect
the citizens of Columbus any longer. You have allowed the use of the United
States army personnel to help with Police department to help with issues that
occur in Columbus with the soldiers. This is a case of not being able to handle a
situation on a local level. You do not have the authority to do this we are not
under martial law and have a safety issue that revolves around the military
personnel against the local population. You also said and I am quoting from the
article on WRBL Mayor Tomlinson says the soldiers will not be able to make any
arrests, but will be able to command order of all military personnel and if need
be, alert military police.“You can’t arrest someone for being intoxicated, but a
senior officer can order you back to base or have military police come get you
and bring you back to base,” says Tomlinson. So let me get this correct you are
saying that the law enforcement can’t arrest a person for being intoxicated now
are you speaking about the soldiers and the population here or have you selected
the military above the laws that the rest of us have to go bye? So I can with
your permission go to any place in Columbus, GA and be drunk out of my mind and I
can’t be arrested for being intoxicated correct? Also what is the purpose of you
allowing the military to patrol the streets of Columbus? Starting at 10 o’clock
Friday, two senior non-commissioned officers from Fort Benning will be on
courtesy patrol. The soldiers will be wearing arm bands that read, “Courtesy
Patrol.” What is a “Courtesy Patrol”? I have never seen or read of this type of
saying ever. Where does the line get drawn? If I am in an car accident with a
soldier will the military be called to the scene as well as the Columbus Police
Department? There are so many loopholes with this situation that are not right.
We are living in America correct? This is not a foreign country where the
military may send the military police off base we have a local police department
and if they can’t do the job then they should be fired and people that can do the
job hired. This falls directly at your feet. I am currently researching all the
law for Posse Comitatus Act I am sure that the local government is direct
violation with this law. Once I have got an answer from the correct people I
would like a public response from the office of the mayor of Columbus Georgi. I
have also listed below what I believe is the current law against being
intoxicated in public. I ask that you kindly speak to the citizens of Columbus,
GA. very soon on allowing military troops to patrol the streets of Columbus,
Georgia as well as those of the base located at Fort Benning then you may be in
direct violation to the Constitution Of America. Now if the President has issued
an order to allow the military to assist the police department then we deserve to
hear this information. Also please read the below on the intoxication. Thank you
for your fast and direct response to the citizens of Columbus, Georgia.
# Georgia: In Georgia, public intoxication is a class B misdemeanor. Public
intoxication is defined as a person who shall be and appear in an intoxicated
condition in any public place or within the curtilage of any private residence
not his own other than by invitation of the owner or lawful occupant, which
condition is made manifest by boisterousness, by indecent condition or act, or by
vulgar, profane, loud, or unbecoming language.
Re: Military Patrol
The users email-address has been added to the addressbook
I did research the Courtesy Patrol from the Army website well before I sent the
email to thank you. What I was referring to was this term is not being a common
term used here in the states frequently. I also know these types of patrols are
used on foreign soil to prevent a soldier from possibly committing a violent
crime why stationed over seas. Can you please give me the other cities where this
type of patrols take place? I was also speaking about the not being able to
arrest someone for being intoxicated those were your words not mine maybe as a
leader of the community you should do a better job of explaining your words
better in the future. With the patrols was this ever mentioned to the general
public in any type of meetings etc.? Why can the police department not handle the
situation with the soldiers without the use of the military assisting them? Are
these soldiers not to follow the same laws as a tax payer and resident of this
community? Where does the line stop is just going to be down town? What happens
if actions by these soldiers ever happen in a mall, pizza place, of even in a
neighborhood then will the use of military “Courtesy Patrols” be sent to handle
the issue? My concern is will the civilians be handled differently than military
personnel and if a civilian is involved in a fight etc. with a soldier or
anything else will the solider just be sent to base and the civilian will have to
face the laws of the city? I just think this should have been explained to the
community in a better manner. I am not against the military and love this town
and support law enforcement but this is a touchy subject and I just want to make
sure that there is not more to than we the people are being told. Thank you for
your response and have a great day.
This is the email I sent back to her and will post the response from her next.
Re: Military Patrol
Type: Embeded HTML/Text
The users email-address has been added to the addressbook
They can’t be arrested for intoxication, unless one of the other qualifiers is present. I have received several emails and FB postings from people who have either lived in other cities or served on courtesy patrols in other communities talking about how valuable they are. Tacoma, Washington was one that was specifically mentioned as I recall. I will get a contact for you at Ft. Benning and you can call them to get a list of other such communities.
Teresa Pike Tomlinson
Columbus Consolidated Government
Post Office Box 1340
Columbus, Georgia 31902-1340
(706) 225-3164 (Office)
(706) 905-9570 (Cell)
The information contained in this electronic mail message may be privileged under Georgia law and may contain confidential information intended only for the use of the individual or entity named. If the reader of the message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication or its contents is strictly prohibited if such a privilege applies. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify us by telephone at (706) 225-3114 or reply email and delete this message.
Sounds the the Army is doing what the Navy has done for years, Shore Patrol. Though you don’t see it much in CONUS, every overseas port that has a liberty call deploys Shore Patrol.
SP is not for civilians, but for service men and women. I would rather be ordered back to the ship then arrested and booked. They serve a purpose to police their own.
Patriot One you are correct but guess what this is not overseas. My question is are the police held hostage by all of the soldiers because they do have the authority to arrest them and according all I have read if a police officer tells a GI to go back the base cause the soldier is drunk or fighting the GI can tell the cop where to stick it. My problem is that we have laws and as a civilian I don’t have the luxury of a ” Courtesy Patrol” I get to go directly to jail. Now is this fair? Guess fair doesn’t count when it does appear the Army has more power of the soldiers than the local police department. Why do the police cars have to protect and serve? Seems protecting and serving is out of the hands of the cops due to the soldiers. I am not against the military at all but they don’t belong on the streets in any manner assisting the police you call it what you want but they are helping the police with controlling the soldiers right?
Thank you to the active duty/prior service members on here for attempting to break through some of the tin foil hats commenting above. This is one of the most ridiculous articles on here lately. To answer lg’s question it’s usually two people. One officer. One NCO. These two people were “lucky enough” to get “voluntold” to spend their evening “policing” up retarded soldiers when they should have been at home with their families. Some of you “awake” people are so ignorant it’s infuriating! Mac, I’ve enjoyed reading your site for just a few months now. It seems though that its going from informational to unnecessarily inflammatory all too often. This is starting to be right on par with the garbage tabloids in the grocery store. Please start posting “For entertainment only” so we don’t have to filter through so much BS just to get some real news. Thanks
@Chris: Take a deep breath. Remove your tinfoil hat. All will be OK.
You are blowing this WAY out of proportion. How long have you lived in Columbus? Do you remember the same type situation we had here 4-5 years ago with soldiers running amok downtown? Do you remember the solution then? Courtesy patrols. They were on the streets for a short period of time, problem was solved, and they went away.
Look at it this way: soldiers, whether on duty or off, are duty-bound to follow orders from a higher rank, correct? If there’s an NCO walking around on Broadway and he sees a private about to make an ass of himself, the NCO can calmly tell the private to get back to the base, thus averting the situation. You know just as well as I do (at least I would hope that you did) that in most cases, a soldier being told an order from a higher-up carries more weight than a cop telling him to simmer down. It’s fast, quick & easy.
Jason I don’t have a tinfoil hat and I have lived in Columbus my whole life I do not remember there ever being this type of solution on the streets here and I keep up with the news etc. Also you said yourself that a higher up has more weight on a soldier than a police once again proving my point the soldiers are above the civilian law correct? You just made that point. Also no body has yet to say where does the Courtesy Patrols END???? Answer that question why just down town what about night clubs etc. You know you can get drunk and rowdy anywhere. So please tell me where the line is drawn? What do you people not understand the military has no right no matter what peace loving left wing politically correct name you give them to patrol the streets. Also do you all not find it to be a problem that the military can’t control them selves? I guess all the people ok with this are military here so you got the tanks, bigger guns so you are ok with it plus it gives you a get out of jail free card. Show your ass and all you get told is go back to base do you think all of these soldiers live on base and will there be someone walking them by the hand to take them home? What type of records will be kept on the soldiers that ordered back to the base? I will say this one more time I have no problem with the military and live in a neighborhood with plenty of them but that does not mean I want to see them all over town to just help me out in case there may be a loose soldier running around. You are making excuses for the soldiers. Watch and see if this does not become a huge problem. What if there are two people fighting one being a regular citizen and the other being a soldier you really think the CP’S are not going to jump in to grab the soldier then let’s just say that the citizen see a camo outfit and takes a swing thinking another soldier is about to clean his clock will that CP hit the citizen? This is what you have to think about where does it stop?
Calm down people, this is nothing more than shore patrol to handle drunk soldiers from Ft. Benning. Columbus GA is where Ft. Benning troops go on liberty and when the civilians start complaining to the base commander to do soldiers causing problems he sends out the shore patrols. It is not new, this happens all the time around posts and when a ship comes to port.
Man, some of you freaks need to watch a couple of old WW II movies when the GIs were on leave in the USA before shipping out. The GIs would party, get drunk and fight with other branches or units while trying to hook up before shipping out. The local cops didn’t want to mess with the GIs and let the SP or MPs handle the issue. The local cops didn’t want to arrest any GIs and screw up his record or keep him from shipping out.
The CP or SP doesn’t care about civilians and is actually there to keep some drunk soldier or Marine from kicking your ass. We have had CP and SP since WWII you idiots. How many of you civilians have been arrested by (or even seen) a SP or CP?
The CP is there to let the military take care of it’s own problems without involving local law enforcement.
You people should worry more about the alphabet agencies that are coming for your rights.
Look folks though I’ve been off active duty over 32 years I don’t think much has changed. Shore Patrol were not specially trained, nor were they officers. Each unit or ship had to provide an E4 or above for Shore Patrol duty, hell sometimes you were assigned to SP duty as a punishment. Beleive it or not it was mostly to protect citizens from drunkin sailors, thats it.
Now I have not been to Norfolk or San Diago in many years, but I would bet SP still patrol the strip. Furthermore SP duty could be a hazard to your health because in most cases all you had was an arm band and night stick.
Its not marshall law, its just the Military policing itself. What would be more of a concern would be to see more cities cutting back on police and using SP’s or MP’s to augment civilian police.
Thanks for the link and the commentary Mac. Makes me feel like when we visit Mexico. I love Cancun but the officials with AR’s everywhere make me nervous. US troops hell, why violate the Posse Comitatus when you can hire Blackwater (Xe) or any of the others to do the “peacekeeping”? and we’ve the new Petraeus/Panetta Dynamic Duo to manage the transition. http://skepticalsurvivalist.tumblr.com/post/5033677494/petraeus-panetta-dynamic-duo-of-defense-thus-begins#note-container
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION 5/11/ OR 5/13/11 THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN, WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!
Is everybody missing the big picture? 5/11/11 OR 5/13/11
they are going to use HAARP to split this country in half, it is part their plan, then all bets are off. you tube haarp worst case scenario New Madrid seismic zone
and you will see exactly what is going to happen, also look up haarp worst case scenario japan, and Japan Tsunami Fukushima Nuclear Disaster 2/2- Leuren Moret – PDX 9/11 Truth
and then you will begin to see the big picture,
I have been studying this everyday since Japan’s earthquake,
there is so much evidence on and a lot of it in their own documents to prove this is going to
happen, LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN NOW, WE DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME, PREPARE!!!!
Sound much like the SP’s and MP’s that were common during WWll. Why the big deal?