Rise of the Warrior Cop, Is it time to reconsider the militarization of American policing?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 20, 2013 7:02 PM GMT
    Becoming a big issue.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 21, 2013 1:42 AM GMT
    I fixed the link.

    This is a very big concern and technology will permit it to get much worse.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2013 2:48 PM GMT
    This a byproduct of the 80s war on drugs, 9/11, and the creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security. With billions of dollars now available to local police forces, and "surplus" military weapons including tanks, drones, and full-combat body armor, some local police forces look more like assault troops than their "Serve and Protect" motto seems to indicate.

    Infra from http://www.vindy.com/news/2012/jan/22/police-are-transforming/?print:

    To our detriment, local police — clad in jackboots, helmets and shields and wielding batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, and assault rifles — have increasingly come to resemble occupying forces in our communities. “Today,” notes Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and associate editor of The Wall Street Journal, “17,000 local police forces are equipped with such military equipment as Blackhawk helicopters, machine guns, grenade launchers, battering rams, explosives, chemical sprays, body armor, night vision, rappelling gear and armored vehicles. Some have tanks. ”

    Yet appearances to the contrary, the American police force is not supposed to be a branch of the military, nor is it a private security force for the reigning political faction. It is an aggregation of the countless local civilian units that exist soley [sic] to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community.

    It is particularly telling that whereas in the past, law enforcement strove to provide a sense of security, trust, and comfort, the impression conveyed today is one of power, dominance and inflexible authority. However, this transformation of local police into military units did not happen overnight. It cannot be traced back to a single individual or event. Rather, the evolution has been so subtle that most American citizens were hardly even aware of it taking place.

    What began with the militarization of the police in the 1980s during the government’s war on drugs has snowballed into a full-fledged integration of military weaponry, technology and tactics into police protocol. As Becker and Schulz report, more than $34 billion in federal government grants made available to local police agencies in the wake of 9/11 “have fueled a rapid, broad transformation of police operations ... across the country. ... Police departments around the U.S. have transformed into small army-like forces."


  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2013 3:08 PM GMT
    This is a tough issue. Criminals are more ambitious, more violent, and better equipped now. The old days of cops walking around with a revolver and nightstick are long gone.

    As for the article, I have to agree that it's a by product of the war on drugs and post 9/11 hysteria. We need to decriminalize certain drugs. And we certainly need to realize that plenty of time has passed to mourn and we need to move on. Wake me up when September ends, right?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2013 3:21 PM GMT
    Interesting article, thanks for sharing it.

    I don't think this is a problem with the technology, rather I think the issue is that they are incorrectly using the same technology to approach all types of crime.

    Also, I think we have gradually loosened controls to prevent abuse, and have not put in place controls for new situations.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jul 22, 2013 3:57 PM GMT
    It is rather like what Professor Lawrence Lessig calls the "sovietization of America." While he spoke on the NSA's metadata mining, I suggest that this includes the militarization of local police forces. It appears that privacy is no longer a guaranteed right of the US citizenry.

    http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-big-brother%e2%80%99s-prying-eyes/