Since when have the police become a quasi-military force?

I know that this post is a bit late, but am I the only one disturbed by the police operation a few weeks ago by the Boston police. It seems that there is a creeping sense of authoritarianism and unaccountability in our security forces. From illegal wiretapping, torture, The Patriot Act, NDAA, the TSA etc. it seems that the government is becoming steadily more tyrannical. Since when do the police conduct a man hunt looking like a military force at war and doing warrant-less house searches? I don´t remember the police looking like an occupying army in the past. The whole operation looked like one of those dictatorial regimes in Latin America from the 1970s when the police and military were more or less the same thing.

My conspiratorial side says to me that this is just a drill or a test to see how the public reacts to a militarized police. And the public seemed to love the display of force. Now the powers that be have the green light to increase the dictatorial power in the future.

Here is a disturbing video below.

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