Week 3 Assignment 2 Examine the Militarization of Police
Compare and contrast the militarization of police, including factors such as officer’s safety and public safety, as well as civil liberties.
Police militarization is becoming an integrating topic, and this debate has been continuing in the United States (Ferrara, 2015). Critics have argued that the militarization of police has resulted into abuse of authority. The debate that surrounds this topic has concentrated on the violence use and excessive force issue. Using selected statistics on violent crimes by both critics and supporters of the militarization of police has added to people being confused over this issue. A debate has it that military types of equipment obtained under the act of violence have led to the adoption of the military tactic, which endangers civil liberty.
As argued by critics, the most fundamental militarization impact is on the culture of police. Their claims state that the latter has led to an overly aggressive policing form which embraces the use of force as the principal means of solving social issues, promotes excessive and unnecessary force, and encourages the police to treat people as enemies (Coyne, 2013). Proponents, on the other hand, think that some level of militarization of police is necessary for enforcing the law to impede threats that are emerging, such as homegrown violent extremists, terrorism, and attacks from violent criminals that are heavily armed. Their claims propose that officers are forced to use protective equipment and military-style weapons to keep pace with the continuously changing adversary.
The potential consequences of the debate regarding the militarization of police are substantial (Coyne, 2013). On one side, policies that address militarization might render the officers incapable of public protection from emerging threats. On the other hand, the unrestricted militarized activity of the police might adversely destroy civil liberty, and this could lead to them losing the support of the public significantly.
The increased police militarization has resulted in a great decline in public trust for law enforcement agencies. As the public keeps on respecting the community’s agencies of law enforcement, public trust and confidence in the institution of law enforcement have declined since the early 2000s (Ferrara, 2015). A national survey conducted in the year 2016 states that most American citizens believe that police using military pieces of equipment is “going too far.” The study also found that most Americans think officers must be warranted before searching vehicles and homes or even monitoring phone calls. The loss of public trust and confidence in the enforcement of the law and the decreased militarization support impede the ability of law enforcement to ensure security for public safety effectively.
Explain whether or not you believe the threat of terrorism is fueling the militarization of police
The United States terrorist attacks on September 11 the year 2001, were events that were very traumatizing for the whole country (Trilling, 2017). This was especially true for law enforcement. A lot of law enforcement officers and a lot of others died while they were initially responding to the attack in an attempt to save lives. 9/11 attacks led to many changes in operations, missions, and tactics of the agencies of law enforcement in the U.S.
The attacks of September 11 provided a new and urgent police militarization justification; the dire need to protect the nation from terrorism (Trilling, 2017). Within the months of attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the Office of National Drug Control Policy started laying the groundwork with ads tying drug recreational use to terrorism support. Terrorism gave rise to a new reason for arming the American police, like the military.
Identify the kind of police actions citizens view as police brutality and overreach of power
Police brutality is using unnecessary and excessive force by a law enforcement officer upon interaction with a civilian, leading to the civil rights of the civilian being violated (Cassisi, 2016). Using tools like batons, pepper spray, and tasers, including choking, hitting, and sexual abuse, among others, are instances of the brutality of the police in the physical nature. As it might sound as if police brutality is only physical, it is not true. The non-physical police brutality includes verbal abuse, false arrest, and racial profiling. While a lot of countries have written laws that tend to address the police brutality issue, and while it is regarded as a serious matter, numerous complaints by civilians fail to reach the stage of the investigation. According to research, since the police are allowed to apply physical force in some circumstances, it is often not easy to prove the use of excessive force in a specific situation.
Recommend alternative strategies such as community policing, SARA, and community-oriented policing, and justify these recommendations
Reduce Police Militarization and Improve Firearm Regulations
Due to the intensive use of militarization of police in Ferguson in the year 2014, the President saw the need to reduce federal programs which equipped the local law enforcement officers with the surplus military technology (Coyne, 2013). Via executive order, President Obama ordered the creation of the Interagency Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group to analyze present programs and also recommended reforms that guarantee police that is provided with the pieces of equipment undergo intensive training regarding the appropriate use and ensuring that civil liberties and civil rights are protected.
Putting an end to the federal incentive to purchase military equipment is the initial step in an attempt to reduce police militarization. The teams of militarized SWAT are very costly in maintenance, and lack of federal funding would make it reduce in scope. Moreover, lawmakers are required to pass laws that return the SWAT teams’ original purpose. SWAT teams use as well as no-knock raids, must be restricted to an emergency that poses threats to the safety of the public and to issue warrants to American citizens that are suspects of violent crimes instead of using minor offenses that are occurring today (Coyne, 2013). Also, lawmakers should order transparency around SWAT teams’ use. In the year 2008, Maryland State passed a bill that requires its agencies to submit biannual reports with regards to the number of times they make use of SWAT teams, their purpose, what was found by the search, and if at all any shots got fired— other states should do the same. It is evident that there exists a considerable increase in SWAT teams’ number and frequency of use. But a meaningful discussion with regard to the militarization of police is impossible without sufficient info concerning its pervasiveness (Trilling, 2017).
The reduction of threats posed to officers by civilians would then alleviate the siege mindset of the police. Highly sophisticated weapons sold to United States citizens force the police to keep up. This race of arms implies that the officers have justified fears concerning the firepower’s nature they regularly confront. Strengthening the regulations of guns to reduce improper purchasing and their availability is also a solution.
Community policing happens to be a philosophy that supports and promotes strategies of an organization to tackle the causes and also mitigate the fear of social disorder and crime via partnerships between the community and the police and problem-solving tactics (Cassisi, 2016). A significant shift from traditional policing that is reactive, community policing insists on preventing crime before its occurrence. The latter is an essential part of improving life quality in the community. Critical attributes of community policing involve a partnership with the community; solving problems; and transformation of policing agencies to empower and support front-line officers, encourage innovation in problem-solving and decentralize command.
Problem-Solving and the SARA Model in Policing
SARA model of problem-solving has been employed by community-oriented policing for long-term solutions to a crime having less interaction with the criminal justice system and has a lot to do with changing the perception (McGregor, 2018). The acronym for SARA is Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment, which refers to significant steps in the process of decision-making and problem-solving. It involves four major components.
Scanning refers to searching for problem activity patterns, including locations, victims, and crime types. It needs problem evaluation, the problem’s perception by both external partners and law enforcement, and problem severity analysis. The next step is the analysis which involves searching for the problem’s cause or identified issues (McGregor, 2018). There is the gathering of information from various sources, including reports of crimes and members of the community that are affected directly by that issue. Many factors are included in the causes of a problem, including law enforcement’s community perception as well as the neighborhood. Upon the identification of the cause, officials of law enforcement will then work alongside the community to develop and execute a proper response. After the implementation of the response, a continuous assessment should evaluate the solution’s effectiveness and make appropriate adjustments.
Cassisi, A. (2016). Justice for All? An analysis of police brutality in the United States, England & Canada. Retrieved from hofstra.edu: https://www.hofstra.edu/pdf/academics/colleges/hclas/geog/geog_cassisi.pdf
Coyne, A. R. (2013). The Militarization of U.S. Domestic Policing. Retrieved from psu.edu: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=AC19E7D1A96D8999D3DEDBB52C1AB0EA?doi=10.1.1.710.2293&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Ferrara, V. (2015). Police Militarization in America: The Land of the Free and the Home of Contradictions. Retrieved from ramapo.edu: https://www.ramapo.edu/law-journal/files/2017/06/Police-Militarization-in-America.pdf
McGregor, S. B. (2018). Enhancing SARA: a new approach in an increasingly complex world. Crime Science.
Trilling, D. (2017). The militarization of America’s police may reduce crime: New study. Havard Kennedy School.
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Week 3 – Assignment 2: Examine the Militarization of Police
In 1829, Sir Robert Peel developed a plan for the London Metropolitan Police and adopted the administrative structure from the British military; however, he wanted a clear distinction between police and military by choosing different uniforms. Peel’s principles of policing were crime prevention, public approval, voluntary cooperation of the public, and the least amount of physical force. United States policing adopted Peel’s philosophy of the quasi-military rank structure, uniforms, and insignia while focusing on crime control as the core mission. Throughout the last four decades, law enforcement’s SWAT teams have become more militarized in uniforms, weaponry, and tactical training. Apuzza (2014) reported that “during the Obama Administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment, and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft” (p.1). This resulted in a drastic increase of SWAT team deployments.
On August 9, 2014, police officer Darren Wilson from the Ferguson Police Department fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American male. The circumstances of the use of force resulted in protest and civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. The following day, some protestors became unruly and began to loot businesses, vandalize vehicles, and confronted and shot at police officers who blocked access to several areas of the city. Local police stations assembled approximately 150 police officers in riot gear and used armored vehicles to try to control the situation.
As a safety officer for your law enforcement agency, you will evaluate the militarization of police and provide suggestions for alternative solutions to incidents such as the one in Ferguson. You have been tasked with preparing a written proposal for police leadership. Respond to the following as you prepare your proposal:
- Compare and contrast the militarization of police, including factors such as officer’s safety and public safety, as well as civil liberties.
- Explain whether or not you believe the threat of terrorism is fueling the militarization of police.
- Identify the kind of police actions citizens view as police brutality and overreach of power.
- Recommend alternative strategies such as community policing, SARA, and community-oriented policing, and justify these recommendations.
Support your arguments with this week’s readings and your own research. Provide examples of crime statistics to support your thoughts and recommendations.
Support your proposal with a minimum of three scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.
Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pages
Your proposal should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic.
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