Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
8Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police Departments, Cato Briefing Paper No. 50

Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police Departments, Cato Briefing Paper No. 50

Ratings: (0)|Views: 916 |Likes:
Published by Cato Institute
Executive Summary

Over the past 20 years Congress has encouraged the U.S. military to supply intelligence, equipment, and training to civilian police. That encouragement has spawned a culture of paramilitarism in American law enforcement.



The 1980s and 1990s have seen marked changes in the number of state and local paramilitary units, in their mission and deployment, and in their tactical armament. According to a recent academic survey, nearly 90 percent of the police departments surveyed in cities with populations over 50,000 had paramilitary units, as did 70 percent of the departments surveyed in communities with populations under 50,000. The Pentagon has been equipping those units with M-16s, armored personnel carriers, and grenade launchers. The police paramilitary units also conduct training exercises with active duty Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.



State and local police departments are increasingly accepting the military as a model for their behavior and outlook. The sharing of training and technology is producing a shared mindset. The problem is that the mindset of the soldier is simply not appropriate for the civilian police officer. Police officers confront not an "enemy" but individuals who are protected by the Bill of Rights. Confusing the police function with the military function can lead to dangerous and unintended consequences--such as unnecessary shootings and killings.

Executive Summary

Over the past 20 years Congress has encouraged the U.S. military to supply intelligence, equipment, and training to civilian police. That encouragement has spawned a culture of paramilitarism in American law enforcement.



The 1980s and 1990s have seen marked changes in the number of state and local paramilitary units, in their mission and deployment, and in their tactical armament. According to a recent academic survey, nearly 90 percent of the police departments surveyed in cities with populations over 50,000 had paramilitary units, as did 70 percent of the departments surveyed in communities with populations under 50,000. The Pentagon has been equipping those units with M-16s, armored personnel carriers, and grenade launchers. The police paramilitary units also conduct training exercises with active duty Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.



State and local police departments are increasingly accepting the military as a model for their behavior and outlook. The sharing of training and technology is producing a shared mindset. The problem is that the mindset of the soldier is simply not appropriate for the civilian police officer. Police officers confront not an "enemy" but individuals who are protected by the Bill of Rights. Confusing the police function with the military function can lead to dangerous and unintended consequences--such as unnecessary shootings and killings.

More info:

Published by: Cato Institute on Mar 26, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/10/2014

pdf

text

original

 
Warrior Cops
The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police Departments
by Diane Cecilia Weber
 Diane Cecilia Weber is a Virginia writer on law enforcement and criminal justice.
No. 50
Over the past 20 years Congress has encour-aged the U.S. military to supply intelligence,equipment, and training to civilian police. Thatencouragement has spawned a culture of para-militarism in American law enforcement.The 1980s and 1990s have seen markedchanges in the number of state and local para-military units, in their mission and deploy-ment, and in their tactical armament.According to a recent academic survey, nearly90 percent of the police departments surveyedin cities with populations over 50,000 had para-military units, as did 70 percent of the depart-ments surveyed in communities with popula-tions under 50,000. The Pentagon has beenequipping those units with M-16s, armoredpersonnel carriers, and grenade launchers. Thepolice paramilitary units also conduct trainingexercises with active duty Army Rangers andNavy SEALs.State and local police departments areincreasingly accepting the military as a modelfor their behavior and outlook. The sharing of training and technology is producing a sharedmindset. The problem is that the mindset of thesoldier is simply not appropriate for the civilianpolice officer. Police officers confront not an“enemy” but individuals who are protected bythe Bill of Rights. Confusing the police func-tion with the military function can lead to dan-gerous and unintended consequences—such asunnecessary shootings and killings.
August 26, 1999
 
Introduction
One of the most alarming side effects of the federal government’s war on drugs isthe militarization of law enforcement inAmerica. There are two aspects to the mili-tarization phenomenon. First, the Ameri-can tradition of civil-military separation isbreaking down as Congress assigns moreand more law enforcement responsibilitiesto the armed forces. Second, state and localpolice officers are increasingly emulatingthe war-fighting tactics of soldiers. MostAmericans are unaware of the militariza-tion phenomenon simply because it hasbeen creeping along imperceptibly formany years. To get perspective, it will beuseful to consider some recent events:
The U.S. military played a role in theWaco incident. In preparation fortheir disastrous 1993 raid on theBranch Davidian compound, federallaw enforcement agents were trainedby Army Special Forces at Fort Hood,Texas. And Delta Force commanderswould later advise Attorney GeneralJanet Reno to insert gas into the com-pound to end the 51-day siege. Wacoresulted in the largest number of civil-ian deaths ever arising from a lawenforcement operation.
1
Between 1995 and 1997 the Departmentof Defense gave police departments 1.2million pieces of military hardware,including 73 grenade launchers and 112armored personnel carriers. The LosAngeles Police Department has acquired600 Army surplus M-16s. Even small-town police departments are getting intothe act. The seven-officer department inJasper, Florida, is now equipped withfully automatic M-16s.
2
In 1996 President Bill Clinton appointeda military commander, Gen. Barry R.McCaffrey, to oversee enforcement of thefederal drug laws as the director of theOffice of National Drug Control Policy.
3
Since the mid-1990s U.S. Special Forceshave been going after drug dealers inforeign countries. According to the U.S.Southern Command, American soldiersoccupy three radar sites in Colombia tohelp monitor drug flights. And NavySEALs have assisted in drug interdic-tion in the port city of Cap-Haitien,Haiti.
4
The U.S. Marine Corps is now patrollingthe Mexican border to keep drugs andillegal immigrants out of this country. In1997 a Marine anti-drug patrol shot andkilled 18-year-old Esequiel Hernandez ashe was tending his familys herd of goatson private property. The JusticeDepartment settled a wrongful deathlawsuit with the Hernandez family for$1.9 million.
5
In 1998 Indiana National Guard Engin-eering Units razed 42 crack houses inand around the city of Gary. TheNational Guard has also been deployedin Washington, D.C., to drive drug deal-ers out of certain locations.
6
In 1999 the Pentagon asked PresidentClinton to appoint a “military leader”for the continental United States inthe event of a terrorist attack onAmerican soil. The powers that wouldbe wielded by such a military com-mander were not made clear.
7
What is clear—and disquieting—is thatthe lines that have traditionally separatedthe military mission from the police mis-sion are getting badly blurred.Over the last 20 years Congress hasencouraged the U.S. military to supplyintelligence, equipment, and training tocivilian police. That encouragement hasspawned a culture of paramilitarism inAmerican police departments. By virtue of their training and specialized armament,state and local police officers are adoptingthe tactics and mindset of their militarymentors. The problem is that the actionsand values of the police officer are distinct-ly different from those of the warrior. The job of a police officer is to keep the peace,but not by just any means. Police officersare expected to apprehend suspected law-
2
The lines thathave tradition-ally separatedthe militarymission fromthe police mis-sion are gettingbadly blurred.
 
breakers while adhering to constitutionalprocedures. They are expected to use
mini-mum
force and to deliver suspects to a courtof law. The soldier, on the other hand, is aninstrument of war. In boot camp, recruitsare trained to inflict
maximum
damage onenemy personnel. Confusing the policefunction with the military function canhave dangerous consequences. AsAlbuquerque police chief Jerry Glavin hasnoted, “If [cops] have a mind-set that thegoal is to take out a citizen, it will happen.”
8
Paramilitarism threatens civil liberties, con-stitutional norms, and the well-being of allcitizens. Thus, the use of paramilitary tac-tics in everyday police work should alarmpeople of goodwill from across the politicalspectrum.This paper will examine the militariza-tion of law enforcement at the local level,with particular emphasis on SWAT (SpecialWeapons and Tactics) units. The paper willconclude that the special skills of SWATpersonnel and their military armaments arenecessary only in extraordinary circum-stances. The deployment of such unitsshould therefore be
infrequent.
More gener-ally, Congress should recognize that sol-diers and police officers perform differentfunctions. Federal lawmakers should dis-courage the culture of paramilitarism inpolice departments by keeping the militaryout of civilian law enforcement.
A Brief History of theRelationship between theMilitary and Civilian LawEnforcement
The use of British troops to enforceunpopular laws in the American colonieshelped to convince the colonists that KingGeorge III and Parliament were intent onestablishing tyranny.
9
The Declaration of Independence specifically refers to thosepractices, castigating King George for “quar-tering large Bodies of Armed Troops amongus” and for “protecting [soldiers], by mock Trial, from Punishment, for any Murderswhich they should commit on the Inhabit-ants of these States.” The colonists com-plained that the king “has kept among us, inTimes of peace, Standing Armies, withoutthe consent of our Legislatures. He has affect-ed to render the Military independent of, andsuperior to, the Civil Power.”After the Revolutionary War, Americanswere determined to protect themselvesagainst the threat of an overbearing mili-tary. The Founders inserted several safe-guards into the Constitution to ensure thatthe civilian powers of the new republicwould remain distinct from, and superiorto, the military:The Congress shall have Power . . .To declare War . . . To raise and sup-port Armies . . . To make Rules for theGovernment and Regulation of theland and Naval Forces . . . To providefor organizing, arming, and disciplin-ing, the Militia.
10
No State shall, without the con-sent of Congress, . . . keep Troops, orShips of War in time of Peace, . . . orengage in War, unless actually invad-ed, or in such imminent Danger aswill not admit of delay.
11
The President shall be Command-er in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militiaof the several States, when called intothe actual Service of the UnitedStates.
12
A well regulated Militia, beingnecessary to the security of a freeState, the right of the people to keepand bear Arms, shall not beinfringed.
13
No soldier shall, in time of peacebe quartered in any house, withoutthe consent of the Owner, nor intime of war, but in a manner to beprescribed by law.
14
It is important to emphasize that thoseprovisions were not considered controver-sial. Indeed, the debate at the time of the
3
After theRevolutionaryWar, Americanswere deter-mined to pro-tect themselvesagainst thethreat of anoverbearingmilitary.

Activity (8)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
Carlos Miguel liked this
REBogart liked this
bobbyhoward liked this
thomas_austin_1 liked this
kccasey liked this
nibornameel liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->