Monday, July 22, 2013

More on the Militarization of the Police

I posted recently about out of control police, based on the Salon article, "'Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book': The new warrior cop is out of control" which you should read if you haven't. 

Remember, effective policing happens when police and the community are united in wanting to assist one another in preventing and stopping criminal activity.  A switch to community-oriented policing gave us some successes in Iraq and Afghanistan.  So, it's a shock to see our local police switching to tactics of shock, fear and iron-fisted control.  That's not what our fellow citizens and friends are supposed to do to us and to be fair, most of them don't.

Those who do make the mental switch to an us (Police only) vs. them (everyone else, even the lawful) are becoming a problem that needs addressing.

The wall Street Journal has now also posted on the problem, further underscoring the need to do something to prevent this from getting worse.

Have a look at the WSJ article here:
Rise of the Warrior Cop:  Is it time to reconsider the militarization of American policing? 

An excerpt to whet your interest:
In my own research, I have collected over 50 examples in which innocent people were killed in raids to enforce warrants for crimes that are either nonviolent or consensual (that is, crimes such as drug use or gambling, in which all parties participate voluntarily). These victims were bystanders, or the police later found no evidence of the crime for which the victim was being investigated. They include Katherine Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed by an Atlanta narcotics team acting on a bad tip from an informant in 2006; Alberto Sepulveda, an 11-year-old accidentally shot by a California SWAT officer during a 2000 drug raid; and Eurie Stamps, killed in a 2011 raid on his home in Framingham, Mass., when an officer says his gun mistakenly discharged. Mr. Stamps wasn't a suspect in the investigation.

What would it take to dial back such excessive police measures? The obvious place to start would be ending the federal grants that encourage police forces to acquire gear that is more appropriate for the battlefield. Beyond that, it is crucial to change the culture of militarization in American law enforcement.

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