Police departments in the United States have been becoming more and more militarized, meaning that they are getting and using equipment that was previously only used by the military for combat between countries. But police forces are supposed to be in place to protect the citizens of a country and not to go to war with those citizens as if they are enemy combatants. What’s going on here?
Those who support a militarized police force will tell you that violent criminals are getting more aggressive and that the police need more aggressive means to deal with that kind of criminal. And I’m certainly not going to suggest that most police officers want to use their positions as law enforcement officers as an excuse to be bullies. I know too many good cops, people with integrity and morals, to make that kind of statement.
However, videos posted to social media have made it clear that there are police officers who abuse their authority to take advantage of and abuse the very citizens that they are supposed to be protecting. So, abuse of authority is an issue. Also at issue, is that militarizing police forces doesn’t actually decrease violent crime. Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead writes,
Indeed, it is increasingly evident that militarized police armed with weapons of war who are allowed to operate above the law and break the laws with impunity have not made America any safer or freer.
Don’t take my word for it.
A new study by a political scientist at Princeton University concludes that militarizing police and SWAT teams “provide no detectable benefits in terms of officer safety or violent crime reduction.”
In fact, according to researcher Jonathan Mummolo, if police in America are feeling less safe, it’s because the process of transforming them into extensions of the military makes them less safe, less popular and less trust-worthy.
The study, the first systematic analysis on the use and consequences of militarized force, reveals that “police militarization neither reduces rates of violent crime nor changes the number of officers assaulted or killed.”
In other words, warrior cops aren’t making us or themselves any safer.
To summarize, militarized police forces aren’t helping the situation and, frankly, may be allowing the few bad cops to be even worse than they were before.
It’s a problem, and it’s getting worse. What you have is a situation that is sold to us as a way to make us safe, but the actual result is that everyday citizens like you and me are being abused and police officers are less safe because people are fighting back against the abuse that bad cops are dishing out.
Because what militarized police forces really do is make Americans less safe and raise tension levels in our country, it simply needs to stop.