“This book explains what policies led to the militarization of America’s police…it provokes genuine outrage at the misuse of state power in its most brutal and unaccountable form: heavily armed police raiding the homes of unarmed, non-violent suspects on the flimsiest of pretexts, and behaving more like an occupying army in hostile territory than guardians of public safety.”–The Economist
This month’s BookClub pick, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Bradley Balko, is a historic look at the causes and effects of the radical militarization of the United States police force. It is well researched, well-argued, and makes the problem of police brutality relevant to the average citizen.
NationofChange highly recommends this timely and authoritative look at the problem that has ignited a nation and outraged the world.
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Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces
The last days of colonialism taught America’s revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But as we’ve seen over the last several decades and particularly in recent years, from Ferguson to Minneapolis, America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other-an enemy.
Today’s armored-up policemen are a far cry from the constables of early America. The unrest of the 1960s brought about the invention of the SWAT unit-which in turn led to the debut of military tactics in the ranks of police officers. Nixon’s War on Drugs, Reagan’s War on Poverty, Clinton’s COPS program, the post-9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs.
In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has put America’s police on a collision course with the values of a free society.
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