Is President Obama’s recently announced order seeking to reverse the dramatic over-arming of police forces nationwide too little, too late? We all saw—in Baltimore, in Ferguson, in Boston—how civilian law enforcement has turned into a virtual sixth branch of the military. Where is this going? Our guest, author of a new book on the topic, shares his research.
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.