RadioWhoWhatWhy: Police Becoming Sixth Branch of US Military?

Lenco BearCat Armored police carrier used in Nashville. Photo credit: Wikimedia Foundation.
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Lenco BearCat Armored police carrier used in Nashville. Photo credit: Wikimedia Foundation.

Lenco BearCat Armored police carrier used in Nashville. Photo credit: Wikimedia Foundation.

No one ever said it was easy to be a cop, and the gig only gets tougher. On the one hand, community organizers and local leaders are calling for more personal policing; more positive interactions between law enforcement and civilians. On the other hand, we’re handing out riot gear and war weaponry as if the police were another branch of the military.

Terminator-style SWAT equipment and armored carriers are now ubiquitous in precincts nationwide. One needs only to look at the images of Baltimore earlier this year, or Boston after the Marathon bombing, or Ferguson, MO, to see how this bristling arsenal can dangerously transform delicate situations into locked down populations and killing fields.

 

Washington Post reporter and author of The Rise of the Warrior Cop Radley Balko talks with WhoWhatWhy‘s Jeff Schechtman about the perfect storm that led to the militarization of America’s police forces and what it means for our liberty.

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