Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The militarization of the police has been a public concern and controversial topic over the recent years. Many individuals are terrified of what the militarization of the police could mean for America. For example, Ferguson and Baltimore have had adverse impacts on the general feelings towards supporting militarization of police. Individuals realize that cops utilize pointless, inordinate power and strategies when managing people in general. Media film of past occasions have exhibited to the American individuals that the police power can quickly change into a military like unit using overwhelming methodologies and power to beat dangers and adversaries to keep the public running harmoniously.
The public has voiced their concerns over how effective militarizing the police would be, particularly since there has been mischief when executing assaults and utilizing military weapons. In 2011, in Framingham, Massachusetts, the SWAT settled on the official choice to constrain into a sixty year old elderly person house, bringing about him biting the dust in the situation on him lying on the floor with his hands over his head. The secret set in when examined, the SWAT had their suspect in care and still settled on the choice to go into the house in any case. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after which resulted in a report that protected the American people interests. The ACLU report examine the excessive force between the citizen and stated highlighted that there has been an “increase militarization of police departments throughout the US since the war on drugs” (Rucke 2014), they also stated that the police new form of militarizing has increasingly treated the American people like they are the enemy of the state. Furthermore, there are other who agree with the militarization of the police. Past events has caused others to believe that there needs to be balance between militarizing and community policing.
The war on drugs is the thing that at first brought forth the militarization of police in networks crosswise over America. Tragically, post 9/11 war on fear has reinforced the military persona. Honest residents including youngsters have succumbed to this new military of law implementation in our country. With enactments and methods like a capacity in protection assets that enabled the Pentagon to move overabundance military gear to police, neighborhood law authorization offices are utilizing weapons found in the battle zone of remote terrains. Since our present President Obama has been in office police offices have supposedly gotten more than a huge number of attack rifles; and around 200,000 ammo magazines; a large number of bits of covering and night-vision hardware; and many silencers, alongside reinforced vehicles and military sort airship. The outcome is that police organizations around the nation have the military-level gear, turning officials who should battle wrongdoing and haven networks into what gives off an impression of being an attacking power of a military. In addition, military-style police strikes have expanded in the previous years (Apuzzo, 2014). When ought to secure and serve open wellbeing and common freedoms exceed the identification?
To understand the concept of militarization of police, one has to understand the history of the police. After the 19th century, a form of policing began in the United States; in the Northern states of the United States there was a system of elected constables and sheriffs; however, the South was far different. In the southern states, there were slave patrols and night watchers to keep order on the plantations. Slave patrols began in the Carolina colonies in 1704. (Reichel 1992). The main job of a slave patrol was to hunt down, apprehend, and return runaway slaves to their owners; to provide a form of organized terror to prevent slave revolts; and to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers who were subject to summary justice, outside of the law, if they violated any plantation rules. Following the Jim Crow era, these slave patrols transformed into predominantly enforcing the Jim Crow segregation laws by trying to control the then freed slaves.
As the years went on, things started to evolve; cities began to grow and social classes were put in place. There became a hierarchy in the working class, which was run by municipal governments put in place by the higher elites. These governments around the country hired thousands of armed men to enforce order for the then new working-class. The United States was no longer a collection of small cities and rural communities. With this economic and population growth the system of informal watch and patrolman system was no longer suitable to control disorder across the country. There were extreme spikes in crime and violence in these new urban cities; such as Chicago. Crimes and violence such as violence against African Americans by white youths, violence primarily against other immigrants and a rise in Mob crimes; in the late 1880s.
Ferguson, MO August 9, 2014, Michael Brown an unarmed African American young person kicks the bucket from gunfire in the back on account of a White St. Louis County official while strolling down the road with his companion. In this circumstance the officials’ security was not in danger; be that as it may, Brown wellbeing was in threat, and his common freedoms were disregarded. Pushing ahead to the dissent, offended residents walked the boulevards for equity in the passing of Brown. At which state and nearby law implementation hauled out the mob and military rigging to scatter the group. War-style strategies are utilized every day while the groups and voices became stronger.
Now is the time when the government should be seeking to restore the trust between law enforcement and the community. The threat of terrorism may appear to be fueling the militarization of police in America. However, the real threat is the lack of concern and value for human lives. In the 1990s Congress formed a military transfer program in the wake of drug gangs in our communities. Police felt out gunned so to combat the streets more firearms and military surplus tools are added to the inventory of local police departments. Since then crime has fallen to probably its lowest in decades, but the government and local law enforcement agencies has yet to cut back on weapons provided to them. So, did the war on drugs start the militarization? No, it was an outlet to control and fear citizens of police.
Now that law enforcement has heavily armed officers with flash grenades, innocent people are destined to get hurt. The prospect of people dying is higher when SWAT teams break down doors without notice, which those in high crime areas think it may be a break-in, who then respond in self-defense. In 2008 in Lima, OH a 26-year-old mother died and her one year injured by a SWAT officer who kicked down her door and opened fire. They were looking for her boyfriend who was wanted by the police on suspicion of drug dealing. After community uproar, the officer was found not guilty of all charges. This impacts children by the lack of concern for their safety. More often children are caught up in the crossfire with disturbing consequences. Nevertheless, there is a line of police brutality and overreach of power?
Citizens have many views and perspective when it comes to law enforcement. However, with the militarization of law enforcement and the disparity that minorities endure, this makes for a dangerous combination of overreaching with all levels of law enforcement. Basically, the military has a police force so why it is so important that local, state and federal law enforcement treat its citizens like terrorists or war enemies? Law enforcement officers seem as if they are in the midst of a war zone, therefore, dressing for the occasion. It is true that minorities and those in low-income neighborhoods come across to law enforcement as if their lives do not matter. But with the sign of the times and the lack of human concern appears to be what minorities think and feel towards law enforcement agents (Dansky, 2014).
All across the country, heavily armed SWAT teams are raiding homes during the night, frequently just to search for drugs. It should enrage Americans that people have unnecessarily died during these attacks, pets shot, and that homes damaged.
Our communities are not war zones, and police officers should not be treating us like enemies. But, year after year, billions of dollars’ of military equipment runs from the federal government to state and local police departments. Agencies use these military weapons in everyday policing, especially to fight the lavish and futile drug war, which has unlawfully targeted minorities (Altman, 2014).
It is time for police to recall that they are supposed to protect and serve our communities, not wage war on the people who live in the community. Since 9/11 law enforcement has become paranoid with Middle Eastern living in our country in low-income neighborhoods. Not all individuals for the Middle East are sleeper agents here to harm our country. Most of them are looking for a better quality of life. The United States provides a way of life free from dictatorship.
Noticeably a restructuring our criminal justice system is greatly needed, one of the alternatives is community policing. If communities move in the direction of community policing it will not only reduce the fear of police by its citizens but will certainly reduce crime, which is something police militarization will not achieve (Yero, 2012). Community policing is a method of policing where there is a combined union or relationship between the police and the community. This association is formed to battle crime jointly and to better the quality of life for all the citizens in the community (Yero, 2012).
From a taxpayer point of view, an alternative strategy would be for policing to revert to the times before George Bush Sr. and remove the military policing from basic warrants and general home search. SWAT is for hostage situation and standoff police calls only. When picking a criminal up for a basic warrant when no known history of violence has occurred with the criminal why should military gear and SWAT be a part of this pick up? Officer safety is important but, public and innocent safety is just as important if not more.
In conclusion, the United States police practices have become excessively and extremely militarized, in part through federal programs which have armed state and local law enforcement agencies with the weapons and devices of war, with the lack of public safety. With the use of terrorist armaments and strategies to control normal law enforcement duties, has no place in present-day society.