“War against Civilians” the Militarization of Modern Police
Since the creation of the Constitution of the United States, Americans have been promised many rights. Most importantly, civilians were promised protection by modern day police officers. The 14th amendment states, "no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." In the last couple of years there has been an increase in violence presented by our police officers in the line of duty. The government decided that our police forces need military training to keep up with the increase of criminal acts in America. This started the creation of many special task forces. Many Americans believe that this is great and feel much safer, but other Americans wonder if they are going too far. The training that our police forces are undergoing is being applied on our own people. In many cases our officers have used brutal force with no disregard to the safety of the civilians. (Balko) The two opposing sides continue to argue over whether or not these acts a justified by the crimes committed, and whether our police forces should continue to be drawn towards militarization.
Modern day police forces are undergoing a change in aggression toward serious criminal acts. They are taking crimes in a more professional manner and are adapting military tactics into their actions. It is as if the military is training the police officers for a war against the United States. This adaptation is a movement called militarization. (Weber) Officers are undergoing over twenty hours a month in Special Forces training to prepare themselves for what used to be common crimes. There are some special forces that were created just for these cases. For example, one group is S.W.A.T., special weapons and tactics. S.W.A.T.’s goal was to take control of crimes that normal officers could not and to set fear in the minds of criminals. They are involved in crimes such as hostage situations, bomb threats, armed robbery, and more. The first S.W.A.T. teams were created in 1967 by Daryl Gates, of the Los Angeles Police Department, after the case of Charles Whitman when he shot forty-six people, killing fourteen and wounding thirty-two august 1, 1966. This sort of aggression gave police officers the idea to create a team that can stop it. (Weber) Since then police special forces have been involved in all severe criminal acts hoping that their training was enough to save the situation from getting to out of control. We created these advanced police forces like S.W.A.T. and pushed towards militarization in order to stop the increase of violent crimes in years to come. Peter Kraska’s, a criminologist from Eastern Kentucky University, recent studies show that from the 1980’s to the mid 2000’s , the deployment of S.W.A.T. teams increased from a few thousand to about 50,000. A no-knock raid is when police simply breach the home of a civilian and yells “police! Search warrant” to let them know what is going on. The amount of no-knock raids a year were around two thousand to three thousand a year in the 1980’s. The rate of these raids changed to around 70,000 or 80,000 during the mid-2000. (Barnett) These raids are occurring in places with high crime rate. In 2010, it was believed that one of the biggest reasons crime rates had decreased in recent years is because police forces’ modern strategies of focusing on places with high crime rate is working. (Crime in America) The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s official website shows that from the 1990’s to 2010, violent crimes have decreased from 1,911,767 to 1,246,248. (F.B.I.) This could be a direct result of the increase of S.W.A.T. teams deployed. When S.W.A.T. was created, they focused on emergencies situations and only emergency situations. These situations included bank robberies, hostages being kidnapped, barricades, and getting involved in riots. However, in recent years they decided to take part in their own “drug war.” In...
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