Militarization of the police...

jks9199

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People have been throwing a word or complaint around a lot lately. "The militarization of the police."

OK... What do you mean? Can you define the word for me? What do you mean by "militarization?"
 

drop bear

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Bigger guns, armoured vehicles,more shooting less arresting.

More of a military emphasis towards the job rather than a community policing one.
 

K-man

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A couple of years back we were in Peru. I would suggest it was virtually impossible to distinguish between police and military looking at their equipment. For us, seeing police jumping out of armored vehicles was something we are not at all used to.
 
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jks9199

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Bigger guns, armoured vehicles,more shooting less arresting.

More of a military emphasis towards the job rather than a community policing one.
Expand on that. What is a "military emphasis?" Could there be justifications or explanations for bigger guns or an appropriate time for an armored vehicle? What if "more shooting, less arresting" happens because alternatives to arrest are used for minor offenses, causing there to be more apparent use of force?
That phrase has bad connotations elsewhere in the world.
Not sure what you're referring to here?
 

drop bear

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Expand on that. What is a "military emphasis?" Could there be justifications or explanations for bigger guns or an appropriate time for an armored vehicle? What if "more shooting, less arresting" happens because alternatives to arrest are used for minor offenses, causing there to be more apparent use of force?

Military emphasis would be about using force rather than negotiation. A no knock warrant is possibly the best example. It makes sense from a tactical stand point but leaves something to be desired in a presumed innocent kind of way.

I don't know why there is the more shooting less arresting. But I cannot think of a circumstance here where an unarmed person was shot by a cop.

As an example using Texas and Australia because the population is about the same. The last time I looked the police shoot more people in a year in texas that have ever shot in Australia.

There are justifications for a militarised response. There is an issue when the justification starts to look contrived.
 

drop bear

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And example where a militarized response was justified. But a community policing response was used.
 

Carol

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A couple of years back we were in Peru. I would suggest it was virtually impossible to distinguish between police and military looking at their equipment. For us, seeing police jumping out of armored vehicles was something we are not at all used to.

I think that's the case in all Spanish-speaking countries. Its no easier to delineate when doing business with them either.
 

Transk53

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Not sure what you're referring to here?

Just thinking about for example Western police officers as advisers, advising say a South American group of police officers with training and advise on any new weapons that may have been procured.
 

MJS

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People have been throwing a word or complaint around a lot lately. "The militarization of the police."

OK... What do you mean? Can you define the word for me? What do you mean by "militarization?"

People have a distorted view of reality. They should stop watching too much CSI, where everything is solved in an hour, and 1 person is hailed as hero. Anything SWAT related, and there's your 'militarization' phobia. Any big guns, people freak out. Nowadays, things are different than they were years ago, but I don't have to tell you this. LOL! People ***** about an armored vehicle...until a situation presents itself....and then those same idiots will ask why the cops weren't better prepared.
 

Carol

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A fair amount of controversy over the last 3 years has been focused on the MRAPP vehicles (ie: the Lenco Bearcat). Before the controversy blew up, a Lenco YouTube promo showed SWAT teams drills in camo and a town official in NH proclaimed "We're getting our own tank!" This caused both national and international media sources running the story of the Bearcat acquisition and asking why a sleepy little college town needs a "tank". I don't recall hearing the term "militarization" before that.

There have also been lost PR opportunities, perhaps partly because agencies were a (rightly) more concerned about the incidents, than they were PR, and perhaps because some of the louder critics are not interested in dialogue. There has been very little said about a man from a small town who ordered his wife out of his home, barricaded himself inside, and threatened to commit suicide shortly after the holidays. What do you do when you have such a volatile situation in a small town? The town PD didn't have a SWAT team, and 1/3 of the force is volunteer/aux. My city supplied responders as mutual aid and the MRAPP kept the officers warm as they braved single-digit (F) temps and subzero (F) windchills.

The following year, a police chief in another small town was about to retire, but said he had "one more thing he had to do", and that was to serve a warrant to a juicer up on a pile of drug charges. The officers serving the warrant were instead met with a rain of fire. An MRAPP was called in to get the officers out of danger. The chief died of his injuries. The remaining 4 detectives were injured -- including 2 with gunshot wounds to the chest. The MRAPP and their vests saved their life.

Add other variables to the mix -- social media has made it very easy for large crowds to get together in very short order. And they attract huge amounts of media attention when they do. Huge amounts of media attention means more images of response teams that are geared more appropriately for volatile situations, including wearing visible body armor, helmets, face masks, etc.

It strikes me that there's some frustration over a gap -- real or perceived -- between the police and their community. Debates over race and use of force rage on. Perceptions of what an officer can do, does do and what risks they face are often unrealistic. To add to the issue, city politics tend to be brutal. Some folks feel like they don't have a voice. That frustration can manifest itself in a variety of ways, some more constructive than others.
 

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I also think people get more "spun up" over stuff they see on the web these days. Stuff that may not apply to how things are "on the ground" where they live.

Policing in the USA is very "local". Unless you live in Baltimore, whats happening there really isn't indicative of what is likely to be going on with the PD where YOU live. If there are problems there then that's where you should be focusing your attention. Hell, the City PD right next to me operates ENTIRELY differently from my 131 sworn suburban PD.

Picketing with "No Justice No Peace" signs in front of your suburban PD that hasn't shot anyone in 20 years is just plain "igniant"...

Conversely. If a PD 800 miles away from you gets an MRAP and the people in that City/Town like their PD and have no issue with it (and even when they do). Unratchet yourself from around the axle. That's their business...not yours.

It's just easier to type OMG "Militarization" on various social media sites than it is to get off your *** and attend Town Council Meetings, organizing action committees or exercising your ability to make change.
 
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jks9199

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Just thinking about for example Western police officers as advisers, advising say a South American group of police officers with training and advise on any new weapons that may have been procured.
In a case like that, tactics and weapon use are seldom a primary emphasis of the training when US officers go somewhere. Instead, it's more often things like strategic approaches, policing styles, administrative practices... In short, the things that make US policing "work." Often -- the results are mixed, because a lot of what makes our methods "work" are cultural. You can't take a Bobby off the streets of London, and plop him in a US city, and expect him to be effective without significant changes in how he works, any more than the top cop out of the NYPD -- or my agency, for that matter -- could be dumped in London and succeed. (Assume that basic issues like knowing the streets, the laws, and the community are magically taken care of, in either case.)
 

Carol

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Tgace

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Its all too common. And I think LE leadership that fails to educate on those differences is a major problem right now. Too many bosses seem afraid to "tell it like it is".

I think people who focus on gear and vehicles really miss the big picture. Its the actions of police that matter.

I think the "if they have it they will want to use it" crowd is barking up the wrong tree. And a dangerous one if they cherish the 2nd Amendment because that argument can cut both ways....

Ive heard far more "horror stories" of the 1960-70 era than ive ever heard of from modern cops. And they had revolvers and saps...not M4s and MRAPS.

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Could there be justifications or explanations for bigger guns or an appropriate time for an armored vehicle?
Such as? Yes, there are sufficiently extreme situations that a "militarized" response might be necessary. Granted, we're supposed to use martial law for that here in the US, and aside from the recent riots those extreme situations simply aren't happening.

What if "more shooting, less arresting" happens because alternatives to arrest are used for minor offenses, causing there to be more apparent use of force?
Again, alternatives like what?
Part of our problem in the US is that while there is the definite perception of more police shootings, we don't actually know for certain what the breakdown is because the powers that be have decided that "death by cop" isn't an important enough set of metrics to bother tracking accurately.

Anything SWAT related, and there's your 'militarization' phobia.
Yes, SWAT essentially represents what the fear is about. Of course they need to employ such tactics and weapons to a degree because of what they're supposed to be used for. On the other hand, over the last twenty years we've gone from about 3000 SWAT deployments a year to over 80000 across the country, many of them pretty mind-bogglingly unnecessary.
 

drop bear

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Over reliance on tools.

Less emphasis on the person.

I had that thought when stun grenades were messing up protesters during occupy wall street. Seemed like overkill.
 
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