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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Militarization of the police after 9/11

It was bound to happen and probably not at all unexpected.

We already knew that after 9/11, resources were diverted away from white-collar and corporate crime investigations toward counter-terrorism efforts.

Now we are learning that police forces are increasingly becoming militarized.

There is a great article about it in Forbes and another at the Huffington Post.

Read them. Why?

Even the police are concerned!

For example, there is this from Joseph McNamara, who served as a police chief in both San Jose, California, and Kansas City, Missouri: "Simply put, the police culture in our country has changed ... An emphasis on 'officer safety' and paramilitary training pervades today's policing, in contrast to the older culture, which held that cops didn't shoot until they were about to be shot or stabbed ... Concern about such firepower in densely populated areas hitting innocent citizens has given way to an attitude that the police are fighting a war against drugs and crime and must be heavily armed."

And this from former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper: "We needed local police to play a legitimate, continuing role in furthering homeland security back in 2001 ... After all, the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place on specific police beats in specific police precincts. Instead, we got a 10-year campaign of increasing militarization, constitution-abusing tactics, needless violence and heartache as the police used federal funds, equipment, and training to ramp up the drug war. It's just tragic."

Hmmmm ...


  1. Ever since September 11, the role of the American police officer has changed from protect and serve and began heading more toward the over-policing style where they focus more on intelligence gathering and anti-terrorism. This style of policing is more militaristic where they get to use battering rams, explosives and other macho methods of deploying justice.

    This is due to the fact that once we allow the word ‘war’ to be referenced in domestic issues we condone force at that point. Like the articles on the blog mentioned, a law was passed allowing military equipment to be donated since the War on Drugs. Why do police departments need military tanks, machine guns, and grenade launchers? Isn’t their job supposed to be to protect and safeguard the citizens, and prevent and control crime? They should not be using force against the very citizens they have been hired to protect.

    The same thing applies to the War on Terrorism which allowed the PATRIOT Act to be enforced. Under the guise of anti-terrorism, this is another law which allows our Constitutional rights to be chiseled away. It blows my mind how people are so easily fooled into giving up these rights and falling for propaganda that has convinced them they are non-patriotic if they do not support the act.

    The police in England are still using traditional methods to protect and safeguard their citizens, and just like other countries, they are also plagued by terrorist problems as well. In the words of Lisa Martin, I’m just saying….

  2. It is sad that the police forces have become more like the military. Even small level police departments have SWAT teams. When in all reality they will never have reason to use the SWAT team. Since they do not have real reasons to use the military training, they will put those resources on the War on Drugs. In my opinion this is a horrible way to use state or federal funding, when it could be used toward other areas.