Police Militarization is a hot issue in today society when talking about police. In the news you have most likely see the programs where police departments are getting access to military surplus equipment. As of right now President is making it easier for police departments to obtain this equipment. Well should cities and towns militarize their departments? To answers why we need to look at several things. Three main things that we will need to look at is what is police militarization, the 1033 Program, why it can be important for the cities and town to have a militarized police department.
The first topic that we will look at in order to answer the question is what is police militarization. To answer this, you have to look at the foundation of police militarization. The very foundation to this idea is called Militarism. Militarism is the idea that the use of force and threat of violence is the best way to solve problems (Kraska, Peter).
It wants to use military tactics, equipment, and organization. Militarization then is the putting the idea to use with provided the military equipment and the training to the police (Kraska, Peter). There are then four dimensions to militarization. These four are material, cultural, organizational, and operational (Kraska, Peter). Material is the military style equipment that would be given to the police. The cultural is the style, beliefs, and values that would be different from non-militarized police. Organizational is the structuring of these police into one that resembles one like the military.
Finally, the operational is certain things that these police officers will do such as “War on Drugs” (Kraska, Peter). The whole of police departments will not be completely militarized but there will be small parts of the department that are such as drug task forces, SWAT, and intelligence units. Most police departments in some small ways already are militarized. You can see this is the ranking systems that they use such as Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and so on.
The second thing that we will look at is 1033 Program. What is the 1033 Program? 1033 Program was created in 1990 to transfer extra weapons and gear from the Defense Department to Law Enforcement, the weapons and gear that were able to be transferred were from the military (Jackman, Tom 2017). At first this program was only for federal and state law enforcement agencies that were in drug enforcement. However, in 1997 this was expanded to all law enforcement, it had an emphasis that this equipment was for anti-drug and terrorism but this wasn’t a require in order to obtain the equipment (Jackman, Tom 2017). Some of the equipment that was able to be obtain was ammunition, firearms, and armored vehicles, such as the bearcat, to name a few. After the police incident in Ferguson, President Obama made it harder for law enforcement to obtain equipment or prohibited certain equipment to be in the hands of law enforcement (Jackman, Tom 2017). However, President Trump has decided to let Law Enforcement receive the equipment and reverse the restrictions that President Obama put in place. The Justice Department conduct research and found out that this program actually had positive effects and helped reduce crime with the use of this equipment (Jackman, Tom 2017). The Justice Department stated “Trump’s decision to fully restore the program represents a policy shift toward ensuring officers have the tools they need to reduce crime and keep their communities safe” (Jackman, Tom 2017).
The Final thing that we will look at to answer the question of should cities and towns militarize their departments is why it can be important to have a militarized police department. The average citizen today can go and get the same equipment that the average police officer has. This can include body armor, training, and weaponry. I own soft body that can protect me from the most common hand gun calibers and this is what the average police officers wear every day. In addition, anyone can go and buy hard body armor which most can protect you up to the .308 caliber. These days people can also pay for classes in which they are trained in how to tactical and efficiently use a firearm and other kinds of tactics when the police are trained in. The last thing that everyone can do is buy the same weaponry that the police have whether it be an Ar-15 style rifle or a hand gun. In addition, it’s hard to find, people can buy “Green Tipped” ammo which is body armor piercing rounds. This why its essential for police departments to have a militarized section of the department. Police need to have equipment that civilians cannot own for their own protection and in order to do their job proficiently. Now the average police officer won’t need this equipment since most police work isn’t dealing with high violent situations but helping people and dealing with small problems. However, departments need to have the equipment and skills for when a violent situation does happen so they can be protected and that they can deal with the situation where the outcome of the suspect can be better than if it was an average officer. Not all departments need to be militarized either. Look at the city of Greeley where a lot of crime and violent crime occurs, they will need this more since they deal with these kinds of situations more than the Town of Windsor where it is relatively calm. In the event that something does happen in the Town of Windsor then they can rely of neighboring town that have a special unit that has the equipment.
Police Militarization is a hot issue in today society when talking about police. In the news you have most likely see the programs where police departments are getting access to military surplus equipment. However, having police departments that are militarized is very essential in today’s world and departments should have some parts of the department militarized.