Militarization of the Police
Imagine a military grade tank rolling down your residential street, 撤OLICEspray painted on the gunner. In many parts of the country this is now a reality. In one county 6 million dollars was allocated to local police for armored vehicles. (Levitz) This and other military grade weapons have sparked a debate in the nation about militarizing the police. If you take into account, the original purpose of special forces, money spent, and the proportional response to a crime, militarization of police seems like an expensive alternative to community programs that are more effective.
The purpose of local police is to protect and serve the right of the people in the given community. It is not an argument that many people feel safer, and that it is a necessary need to have police agencies in a democratic society. The American police force is not a branch of the military nor is it a political machine. In recent history we have seen a change from locally funded and locally managed community police forces to federally funded Special Weapons and Tactics or SWAT team based police forces. SWAT teams were first implemented in Los Angeles to stop riots in the 1960痴. SWAT teams were then used across the nation to respond to active shooters, hostage situations or other serious violent situations in which a suspect could be heavily armed. In more recent history, 典here was a reported 1,400% increase in the total number of SWAT deployments between 1980 and 2000.(James, 1) Since that time the purpose of SWAT teams have shifted; 典he majority (79 percent) of SWAT deployments were for the purpose of executing a search warrant, most commonly in drug investigations. Only a small handful of deployments (7 percent) were for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios. The remaining deployments were for other purposes such as protecting visiting dignitaries, capturing fleeing suspects, and responding to emergencies.(War, 31) Many argue that when you shift to a military style of fighting crime you stop looking at the people as people you are protecting and start looking at them as the enemy. The police adopt a 層arriormentality when they are using grenades to flush people out and drones to capture information. The way that police officers view themselves and the citizens they serve will certainly affect local and community attitudes.
The use of SWAT teams is on the rise and the arsenal available to local SWAT teams are military grade weapons. Some examples include: 鄭n estimated 500 law enforcement agencies have received Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles built to withstand armor-piercing roadside bombs.(War, 4) 典he police department in Maricopa County, Arizona has a .50 caliber machine gun that shoots bullets powerful enough to blast through the buildings on multiple city blocksand a combined total of 120 assault rifles, five armored vehicles, and ten helicopters. This arsenal was acquired mainly through the Department of Defense痴 1033 program, which transfers military-grade weaponry to state and local police departments, free of charge.(War, 13) Federal programs such as the Department of Defense痴 1033 program authorizes Congress, and the Secretary of Defense 鍍o transfer articles suitable for counter-drug and counter-terrorism activities(James, 1)
鼎ounter-drugactivities is usually an illusion to the War on Drugs. This is significant because many of the new uses for SWAT teams are raiding homes to find illegal drugs as said above. The War on Drug policies were meant to target large scale drug trading. Zero tolerance policies were also adopted so that individual drug users could be arrested for drug use not just large scale dealers or cartels. 鄭s a result of these policies, the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. for drug offenses increased 1,412 percent between 1980 and 2006.(War, 7)
While many people, officers included, do not believe that incarceration is the best means of...
Bibliography: James, Nathan, and Daniel H. Else. "The "Militarization" of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense 's "1033 Program"" CRS IN10138 (2014): 1-2. Print.
Article explains the 1033 program and congresses role and reasoning for granting military grade weapons for use against the War on Drugs. It also looks the role of SWAT teams, the orginal purpose and the growing rate of SWAT usage nationwide.
Levitz, Jennifer. "Towns Say "No Tanks" to Militarized Police." The Wall Street Journal 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 2 Nov. 2014. .
The article looks at the number of armored, mine-resistant ambush-protected military vehicle owned by local police departments. The vehicles were given to agencies under the department of homeland security. They have been a growing concern with local citizens and beg the question, how much is too much police?
"RETHINKING THE BLUES: How We Police in the U.S. and at What Cost." Justice Policy Institute. Justice Policy Institute, 1 May 2012. Web. 2 Nov. 2014.
The article 迭ethinking the Blues looks at communities and how they can be better served by programs other than police intervention. Covering expenditures in policing and where the money is coming from as well as statistics in crime rates in the last 10 years. It lays out different policies such as preventative programs for gang related and drug related community problems. The article also looks at the lack of training for first responders.
Sarao, Steven. "The Job of SWAT: Understanding the Need for Special Weapons and Tactics Capabilities A Review of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America痴 Police Forces by Radley Balko (PublicAffairs, 2013)." THE HARVARD Kennedy School Review 1 Jan. 2014. Print.
Steven Sarao reviews an article 典he Rise of the Warrior Copand comes to the defense of the use of SWAT teams. He recounts his own experience in a local law enforcement and provides examples of checks and balances inside of the bureau. He also challenges people to look at the statistics of larger police precincts and to look at incidences other than drug related cases.
"WAR COMES HOME: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing." ACLU 1 Jan. 2014. Print.
The American Civil Liberties Union looks at the national statistics of local SWAT teams around the nation and its acquisition of military tools and weaponry. It looks at the federal programs that have armed state and local law enforcement agencies. Focusing on trends that have grown since the presidential administrations War on The report cites when SWAT teams are used, which tactics, and tools are used and in what instances. It also reports on the public痴 support of local law enforcements in counties across the nation.
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