I'm with you to an extent, D-man, particularly after reading about some of the sheriffs and police captains/chiefs agonizing over this issue of officer safety vs. protection of civil liberties.
However, at least for me, it's difficult to look at particular issues of the militarization of US police departments on an issue-by-issue basis without lumping all the issues together. When you look at the list of offenses, and these are only the ones that immediately come to mind (random checkpoint stops without probable cause, officer misconduct, officer ignorance concerning video recording and other laws essential to protecting the rights of citizens, "professional courtesy", no-knock SWAT raids, regular officers increasingly LOOKING more like SWAT team members and not your friendly neighborhood peace officer, pet shootings, illegal seizure of property, citing citizens for minor infractions simply to generate revenue at the expense of ignoring major crimes, etc.) you begin to see that law enforcement, at least in the states, has become a separate feudal class unto itself that answers to very few people and can do pretty much whatever it wants. It's only been with the recent advent of the internet and mobile phone cameras that citizens have been able to shine a very bright light on these crimes and it's starting to come to the general public's attention just how much power the police have seized for themselves at the expense of the personal liberty of the citizens.
All this to say that yes, I do get twitchy when I see this class in particular asking for and receiving fully automatic weapons, body armor, APC's, mine-resistant vehicles, etc., particularly if they're only small town yokels who wouldn't know what to do with any of the stuff to begin with, except "play soldier," something I don't want my taxes going towards. I know not all officers or even police/sheriff departments fit this category, but enough of them do to where citizens need to start doing something about it before it escalates further. It's the age-old nature of wanting more power. If you can keep getting it under auspices of "protecting the people", you're going to continue looking for more of it until someone tells you that you can't have anymore. Look no further than at our country's foreign policy, war on drugs, war on "terror", and state surveillance apparatus for proof of that. As agents of said state, our police forces are no different.