ABC Chicago's top cop revealed some new strategies to fight crime in the city-- adding semi-automatic weapons, an armor-plated vehicle, and full SWAT dress in crime hot spots. . . Part of the strategy includes deploying SWAT team members and other specialized officers in full battle dress to crime hot spots. The measure began last month and will continue. Critics believe it to be cosmetic and meant to intimidate. . .
"I don't want people to think we're going into war, but I think it does send a strong message. If they're in SWAT-type uniform and you're driving through the neighborhood visible, interacting with neighbors and community members, it sends a strong message and serves as a deterrent to violence," said Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Department.
Weis is also moving ahead with plans to equip - within the next three years - all 1,700 of the department's patrol cars with M-4 carbines, a semi-automatic rifle that SWAT team members now carry. Putting them in squads will require training for every officer authorized to use an M-4. . .
The police also showed off a 'bearcat,' a 16,000 pound, armor-plated, bomb-protected vehicle meant to deliver SWAT team members into destinations under fire.
The private mercenary firm Blackwater is facing new scrutiny over its announced plans to build a training facility in Southern California. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has demanded a probe into whether Blackwater misrepresented itself when it sought permits for the facility's construction. According to local media reports, Blackwater apparently didn't file under its own name, instead using the names of two subsidiaries. Earlier this year, local residents successfully blocked Blackwater from opening an 824-acre military complex known as Blackwater West in the rural town of Potrero, California. . . Prensa Latina reports that the director of the Border Project of the American Friends Service Committee, Pedro Ríos, notes that there are signs that the mercenary group is determined to build on the border with Mexico, only half a kilometer from the Mexican city of Tijuana and some 300 meters from a U.S. Border Patrol station. Periodico
Blackwater has started to look at ways to expand its business outside Iraq and is seeking financing to do so. . . Blackwater has advertised in security industry journals repositioning itself as a peacekeeping force. The adverts show mothers feeding babies and Blackwater guards smiling as children play in a street. It has also set up a division called Greystone, which is seeking to win protection work from the UN, aid organizations and foreign companies. A defence industry source said: "Theirs is nearly all US government work and if that goes they are in trouble." Times, UK