Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Policing Power of the Federal Reserve

Flint's struggles with crime are well documented. In fact, according to F.B.I. statistics, it's the most dangerous city in America. Despite the dire statistics, Flint's police force continues to shrink as the city attempts to erase a budget deficit in an era of declining tax revenues and economic stagnation. Police headquarters isn't even open to the public on weekends.

If only Flint could borrow some protection from the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Each one is a private corporation owned by commercial banks in its region. And yet, in 2001, the USA Patriot Act granted the private banks domestic policing powers.

Pam Martens of AlterNet reports

Section 364 of the Act, “Uniform Protection Authority for Federal Reserve,” reads: “Law enforcement officers designated or authorized by the Board or a reserve bank under paragraph (1) or (2) are authorized while on duty to carry firearms and make arrests without warrants for any offense against the United States committed in their presence…Such officers shall have access to law enforcement information that may be necessary for the protection of the property or personnel of the Board or a reserve bank.” 
The police officers are technically known as FRLEO, short for Federal Reserve Law Enforcement Officer. The system has its own police academies for training, their own patch and badges, uniforms, pistols, rifles, police cars and the power to arrest coast to coast without a warrant. They have ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and a recruitment ad campaign with the slogan: “It’s about respect and recognition from your peers. It’s you.”

1 comment:

  1. Flint is so small now compared to other dangerous cities that it is almost a joke to say they are the most dangerous. Other cities have so much more total crime as to dwarf Flint's violent crime problems. Flint reports crime also to get federal law enforcement funds, while other cities hide and don't report crimes for public relations reasons.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at