The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) teamed up with US Special Forces troops Wednesday evening for a night of "multi-agency" counter-terrorism tactical exercises.
Residents of the sprawling city observed a Black Hawk helicopter and four OH-6 choppers flying over Los Angeles, with the fleet hovering above the US Bank building downtown and flying low over the Staples
Meanwhile, LA news station CBS KCAL9 managed to identify a Black Hawk making what appeared to be a practice drop off in a local park before flying off.
The LAPD issued an official statement explaining that the training exercises would help ensure the military’s ability to safely and effectively operate within urban environments.
Chief Warrant Officer David Duran told KCAL9 the Los Angeles training exercises could be a dry run for a future mission.
"They do a lot of mockup training... But it’s always best to get the closest terrain layout to what the objective is," he explained.
"If it’s a mountainous terrain, they go to the mountains; if it’s a desert terrain, they use the desert; if they’re in a coastal terrain, they use the coast. If it’s an urban terrain, you know, whatever’s needed."
Similar exercises - which were held in NYC, Miami and Boston - have prompted concern over what appears to be the rapid militarization of local police departments. Indeed, since 9/11, the DHS has shelled out more than $34 billion in federal grants arming precincts with military grade equipment and advanced tech.
For example, the New York Police Department (NYPD) and US Department of Defense (DoD) are currently testing a new system that uses terahertz imaging to detect hidden weapons.
Unsurprisingly, the use of such invasive technology has prompted a slew of concerned statements from privacy advocates who believe the arbitrary use of terahertz imaging violates human rights. To be sure, the system is capable of measuring energy radiating from an individual up to 16-feet away, while detecting anomalies like a firearm.
However, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly insisted he will only authorize the use of the system in reasonably suspicious circumstances where terahertz imaging would cut down on the number of instances which police stop and frisk a subject.
The NYPD is also apparently mulling over the idea of deploying drones to assist officials with various law enforcement tasks. Of course, drones are already flying above the skies of a number of US states, including Miami and Texas. The craft are typically equipped with high-resolution cameras capable of capturing a high-level of detail in real time, such as faces and license plates numbers.
Former NYPD officer Gary Weksler said he believes the deployment of drones over the skies of the Big Apple makes perfect sense and is probably somewhat inevitable.
"Not only would it be a form of intelligence gathering to protect the public, it also in many respects removes the officers, who might be attempting to identify issues, from harm's way," he added.