Police Militarization Escalates Police Violence | Tenth Amendment Center

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  steve-ott  •  5 months ago  •  22 comments

By:   Mike Maharrey (Tenth Amendment Center)

Police Militarization Escalates Police Violence | Tenth Amendment Center
Despite all the talk about getting "dangerous criminals off the streets," the main function of local police militarization seems to revolve around the unconstitutional "war on drugs." After all, wars require soldiers, and the federal government doesn't have the manpower to fight alone. The feds need state and local police to serve as foot soldiers in their drug war. Militarization, combined with asset forfeiture cash, incentivizes the necessary cooperation.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



By: Mike Maharrey|Published on: Dec 7, 2021|Categories: Federal Funding, Police

The militarization of state and local police through federal government programs changed the character of policing in the United States. It has turned "protect and serve" into "command and control." Instead of serving the community as "peace officers," many state and local law enforcement agencies have turned into domestic military forces.

We see the images on TV news - cops in military gear, riding on armored vehicles and toting military-style weapons. Police apologists claim militarizing law enforcement agencies helps them fight dangerous criminals more effectively and that it makes the streets safer. And yet, some studies not only show these claims are dubious, but also suggest militarizing local law enforcement actually escalates the level of violence in the community.

This makes sense intuitively. If you dress police officers like soldiers and arm them like soldiers, eventually they'll start acting like soldiers. The saying goes, "if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."

In the 1980s, the federal government began arming, funding and training local police forces, turning peace officers into soldiers to fight in its unconstitutional "War on Drugs." The militarization went into hyper-drive after 9/11 when a second front opened up - the "War on Terror."

Police can get military-grade weapons through a number of federal programs, including the 1033 program, and via the Department of Homeland Security through the (DHS) "Homeland Security Grant Program." The DHS doles out over $1 billion in counterterrorism funds to state and local police each year. According to a 2012 Senate report, this money has been used to purchase tactical vehicles, drones, and even tanks with little obvious benefit to public safety. And, according to ProPublica, "In 1994, the Justice Department and the Pentagon-funded a five-year program to adapt military security and surveillance technology for local police departments that they would otherwise not be able to afford."

According to the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), As of 2020, the 1033 program alone has transferred more than $7.4 billion in military equipment to some 8,000 state and local law enforcement agencies.

Does all of this military gear on American streets cut the amount of violence?

University of Michigan professor Kenneth Lowande has extensively studied the federal 1033 program. He told Wired that the effectiveness of police militarization is questionable.


"There is no compelling evidence, right now, that arming LEAs with military-grade equipment increases or decreases crime.

A 2018 Princeton University study showed that militarized SWAT teams were more likely to be deployed in minority communities. That study also questioned the effectiveness of militarized police. The research showed on average militarized police units "provide no detectable benefits in terms of officer safety or violent crime reduction."

And a University of Tampa study suggests that while police militarization does not appear to reduce crime, it may increase the cycle of violence in America's streets.


"Our research suggests that officers with military hardware and mindsets will resort to violence more quickly and often. Other research shows that when governmental responses are violent, dissidents and protestors are more likely to act violently at the site and in the future. Of course, that leads to more violence from the government creating a spiral that is hard to escape."

Some challenged the UT study findings, but one of the coauthors told Wired that they were able to replicate the findings using more recent granular numbers.

Despite all the talk about getting "dangerous criminals off the streets," the main function of local police militarization seems to revolve around the unconstitutional "war on drugs." After all, wars require soldiers, and the federal government doesn't have the manpower to fight alone. The feds need state and local police to serve as foot soldiers in their drug war. Militarization, combined with asset forfeiture cash, incentivizes the necessary cooperation.

In fact, a survey of applications made to federal programs by state and local law enforcement agencies revealed the drug war was by far the most common reason given for needing to militarize police officers.

Over the last two decades, police militarization has fundamentally changed policing. It's made cops more prone to violent responses and less responsive to community needs. It's time to put "peace" back into "peace officer" and end police militarization once and for all. State and local governments can do this by withdrawing from federal programs that supply military equipment to local cops.


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Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
1  seeder  Steve Ott    5 months ago

"It's time to put "peace" back into "peace officer" and end police militarization once and for all. State and local governments can do this by withdrawing from federal programs that supply military equipment to local cops."

The only reason there is a "war" out there, as cops love to say, is because they are the ones fighting. No one really likes being accosted by a cop who is looking at you as some kind of enemy combatant. When they see everything as a "war", then it eventually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Steve Ott @1    5 months ago

Yeah, because of course everyone is nice to cops and no one ever shoots at them or throws things at them.

Seems like some liberal-run cities are now reversing course on all the talk of defund the police as violent crimes grow.

 
 
 
Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
1.1.1  seeder  Steve Ott  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1    5 months ago

Has the populace as a whole declared war on cops?

You also seem to have skipped right past this statement: "The militarization of state and local police through federal government programs changed the character of policing in the United States. It has turned "protect and serve" into "command and control.""

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  Steve Ott @1.1.1    5 months ago
Has the populace as a whole declared war on cops?

Nope, which is precisely why I never claimed that. What in my post would lead to to even ask such a bizarre question?

You also seem to have skipped right past this statement: "The militarization of state and local police through federal government programs changed the character of policing in the United States. It has turned "protect and serve" into "command and control."

Didn't skip past anything, just didn't agree with the writer's opinion. 

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
1.1.3  Nowhere Man  replied to  Steve Ott @1.1.1    5 months ago
"The militarization of state and local police through federal government programs changed the character of policing in the United States. It has turned "protect and serve" into "command and control.""

It isn't federal government programs that did it, it was the Patriot Act, (as modified by President Obama) that nationalized the police forces...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Kavika   replied to  Nowhere Man @1.1.3    5 months ago
It isn't federal government programs that did it, it was the Patriot Act, (as modified by President Obama) that nationalized the police forces...

Obama rescinded the sale of some type of military equipment to police forces but that was overriden by Trump.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
1.1.5  Nowhere Man  replied to  Kavika @1.1.4    5 months ago

Didn't matter, the rescission orders issued by Obama were so weak that most easily found ways around it...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.6  Kavika   replied to  Nowhere Man @1.1.5    5 months ago

It must have mattered if Trump had to rescind it. 

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
1.1.7  Nowhere Man  replied to  Kavika @1.1.6    5 months ago

The ACLU page makes a pretty good case for the argument it didn't matter.. with charts an all...

God I can't believe I just said that.... {eeeeww}

 
 
 
Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
1.1.8  seeder  Steve Ott  replied to  Nowhere Man @1.1.3    5 months ago
it was the Patriot Act

It created the program.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     5 months ago

Militarization of the police goes back to the Reagan-era war on drugs when one program informally began giving surplus military equipment from the Pentagon to police departments across the U.S. The initiative, known as ​​the 1033 program, was formally implemented when Congress passed a law in the 1990s.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
2.1  Nowhere Man  replied to  Kavika @2    5 months ago
1033 program

Actually, it was Slick Willie that authorized it...

When he signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 1997, President Bill Clinton authorized the 1033 program. The 1033 program allowed the Department of Defense to transfer surplus military-grade equipment to local and state police forces.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3  Kavika     5 months ago

In 1996, Congress made the Pentagon's temporary authority to give weapons of war to local law enforcement agencies permanent and expanded its purview to “counterterrorism” as well, creating 1033 as we know it.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
3.1  Nowhere Man  replied to  Kavika @3    5 months ago
removed for context
 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
3.2  Nowhere Man  replied to  Kavika @3    5 months ago

I also got this from the ACLU piece...

 In 1989, Congress gave the Pentagon temporary authority to give equipment that was no longer being used by the military to local police and sheriff’s departments. Armored vehicles, planes, rifles, scopes, grenades, bayonets — nearly everything was on the table, so long as the military “ deemed [it] suitable … in counter-drug activities .”

Found it...

Title XII of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991... ( 101st Congress, H.R.2461 )

That makes it during the first Bush administration and the congress of Newt...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Kavika   replied to  Nowhere Man @3.2    5 months ago

It was done on a temp basis for years before that permanent authorization act.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
3.2.2  Nowhere Man  replied to  Kavika @3.2.1    5 months ago

Well I can't find any references to it before 1990 on congress's website... (who would have had to authorize it even on a temporary basis) It must have been a secret administration thing then... I don't remember hearing anything about it during my time there... But then again I wasn't privy to a lot of stuff that was going on...

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
3.2.3  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Nowhere Man @3.2.2    5 months ago
who would have had to authorize it even on a temporary basis

Likely would have fallen under DRMO sales , many LEO orgs were eligible to go to those and purchase surplus  and put it to their own uses .

county sherriff got his hands on some first generation MREs, the units thought they had hit the jackpot , unitl they came to the one selection nick named the 5 fingers of death....some type of meat wrapped in a taco wrap , with seasoned rice ... they went down like 5 steel spikes and came out in one iron bar like projectile ....growing the tail it was called . i took the old c rat ham and mother f*ckers every time .

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
3.2.4  Nowhere Man  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @3.2.3    5 months ago
DRMO sales

Hey brother! Good to see ya...

We were talking about MRAPS and heavy combat hardware that the government was giving away to just about anyone back then, I kinda doubt refurbished MRAPS were available under surplus auction to just anyone... {chuckle} Obama did try and cut back on some of it but the requirements for return were very weak and most of the takers found ways around the recalls..

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
3.2.5  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Nowhere Man @3.2.4    5 months ago

back atcha , remember the old AF peacekeepers of the 80s ? seen them available through DRMO  back then , was like , ummmm, no thanks .....

 i can see a small force going for an MRAP over the commercial bearcat being offered with funding .

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
4  Mark in Wyoming     5 months ago

when i was a volenteer member of a search and rescue unit in the mid 90s , most if not all the equipment was government surplus aquired by the county sherriff, you name it we had it, tents vehicles , even a mobile kitchen set up . , now some of the stuff like smoke grenades , and  even a couple of modified M-14s were aquired for patrols with the deputies , i heard later they got recalled for military use in iraq . .

 
 

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