Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Police Branch of the US Military

We ask a great deal of our police. On the one hand we want to see more community policing, more interaction with the citizens. At the same time we are training and equipping the police as if they were another branch of the US Military.

Drive into the vehicle section of any police department and you’ll see SWAT equipment and armored carriers that look like they are from a Terminator movie. Think about what Boston looked like after the marathon bombing; an American city in lock-down and an occupying force of police that was the model for police forces around the country.

But how did we get here? Was it the crime waves of the 70’s and 80’s, the drug wars, the post 9/11 fixation with security and politicians that suddenly couldn’t say no to funding police? The answer is that it was all of these and more. They would create the perfect storm for the militarization of America's police forces.

This is the subject of Radley Balko’s new book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces

My conversation with Radley Balko:

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