Glenn: The father of militarized policing was both a progressive and a Nazi sympathizer

For weeks, Glenn has been teasing the progressive figure that changed policing as we know it today. Why have local police forces become increasingly militarized? It all goes back to a man named August Vollmer...

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Below is a transcript of this segment

In the founding days of America, there was a partnership, citizen and officer. They were one in the same, but that mentality began to change during the progressive era and largely thanks to one man, August Vollmer. He was famous all over the world as a lawman above lawmen who changed policing for the better. Academics revere him. So, who is he, and how did he change American law enforcement?

Well, Vollmer was born to immigrants from Germany in New Orleans. Eventually his family settled down in Berkeley, California. He was just another face in the crowd, but in 1904, that would all change. He happened upon a railway train. There was a car rolling down the tracks unattended. It was heading directly for a coach car filled with commuters. August ran off in pursuit of the train. As the entire town looked on, he managed to catch up to the train, jump on board, grab the brakes, and he stopped it just in time to save scores of lives. Well, now, he was a local hero. The notoriety propelled him to the position of town marshal.

He didn’t have much experience, but he did have a military background. So, he began structuring the Berkeley, California police in exactly the same way the Marine Corps was structured. He was the first to give police officers a military rank structure and designated military style uniforms.

"They started to use and look to the military as a way of organizing a police force. So, they would have uniforms, and they would have military rankings—captain, major, that sort of thing. That’s where we begin to see the beginnings of the modern police force," explained. Tim Lynch, Director of the Project on Criminal Justice for the Cato Institute.

The door now was opened in exactly the direction the founders warned against. This was all happening at the dawn of the progressive era where they were pushing eugenics and other scientific methods at prominent universities. Woodrow Wilson himself was president of Princeton University during this time, and like most progressives, August Vollmer believed only educated men and women were good.

He started issuing IQ tests before hiring officers. “The policeman’s job is the highest calling in the world. The men who will do that job should be the finest men. They should be the best educated. They should be college graduates. That’s what policemen should be. And what are they? Dumbbells.” Vollmer’s ideas came largely from Europe. Criminology textbooks from Austria and France were used in America’s first police school. He created one of the first centralized police record systems in 1906. There were fingerprints, blood, and other samples that were stored. He was the first to hook people up to a lie detector and use that to determine guilt.

His star began to rise, and in 1907, he was elected president of the California Association of Police Chiefs. Vollmer’s criminal justice methods were now made into a college degree at the University of California and spread to all universities all over the country. His methods utilizing military rank structure, uniforms, the scientific method, and university level education were highly sought after, but he wasn’t finished.

He instituted the first motorized patrols. This is where the first real disconnect between police officers and the community began to creep in. Before Vollmer, law enforcement officers were part of the community and the local neighborhood that they helped to protect. They patrolled the streets on foot and quite often lived amongst those that they served. Now, officers with military ranks and uniforms responded to calls from outside of the community, rolling in on police cars and motorcycles. They were outsiders. Some felt protected. Some began to feel invaded.

"For many of the large cities, most of the police that are operating on the streets don’t even live in the cities anymore, and that’s a huge mistake. Your local police should be local police. You should know them. You should be able to contact them. Most of the people who are running in New York and Baltimore—by the way, in Baltimore we saw the riots in April 2015. Seventy percent of the police live outside of Baltimore, some as far away as Pennsylvania and New Jersey—bad mistake," said John Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute.

In 1921, August Vollmer was elevated to the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He traveled all over the country refining law enforcement agencies. He moved to Los Angeles and became the chief of police there. By 1930, he had completely and fundamentally transformed law enforcement in the United States.

Law enforcement was destined to evolve, and not all of his changes were necessarily negative ones. As the urban population began to boom, it was inevitable, but Vollmer did something our country had been resisting since the birth of our nation. He set the framework for a militarized force within our own borders, patterned after the military and with progressive policies. It didn’t have to evolve that way, but the progressives made it happen.

Now, most people see August Vollmer as a man before his time, a true innovator and a hero to the profession. At least, that’s what academia thinks of him, but progressive academia tends to look favorably on progressives. The FBI wasn’t so thrilled with him. In the 1930s and 40s, the FBI had this man under surveillance. You’d think that’s kind of odd considering he was known as the father of modern law enforcement and praised in virtually every write-up about him. Remember, Vollmer’s family, however, was from Germany, a pesky little fact nobody wants to teach anymore.

It turns out that Vollmer was a member of the German-American Bund, a Nazi sympathizer. They held Nazi-style rallies where they displayed Nazi insignia and gave each other the “heil Hitler” salute. They wore military style uniforms and had their own rank structure. Sound familiar?

They saw America as three separate administrative divisions and held training camps in each. What did they think about our country and our values? Well, earlier I quoted George Washington, and up until Vollmer’s time, Americans had honored his vision, but Vollmer’s Nazi group had a very different view. They claimed George Washington was America’s first fascist and that he never actually believed that democracy would work.

Vollmer was not the hero the progressives want us to believe. He may have been well-meaning, but he was a progressive and a Nazi who began the militarization of America’s local police force. It was the first shift away from Washington’s vision, and it was the opening of the door creating the social divide between communities and law enforcement.

The system used to be a pact and partnership between civilian and officer where both helped each other to maintain order, and it had been altered. The fallout were urban neighborhoods who slowly began to view law enforcement more like an invasion force rather than a partner. Does any of this now sound familiar?

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.