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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Less Militarized Policing

      Militarized policing doesn't provide added protection from crime and domestic terrorism. What it does do, however, is alienate innocent people, cost money the country can't afford, turn public servants into combat warriors, and, in a free nation, make police officers an occupying force.

     The first step toward police demilitarization would include a de-escalation of the war on drugs followed by the disbanding of SWAT teams that exist primarily to serve predawn, no-knock search warrants. Demilitarizing law enforcement would also include the termination of the special forces training of ordinary police officers.

     Step two would involve replacing zero-tolerance, no-discretion law enforcement with the less aggressive community model of policing where officers function more as public servants than as occupiers of enemy territory. Less fear mongering from politicians and police administrators would also improve police-community relations.

     And finally, reducing the role of the federal government in dealing with criminal offenses that could be adequately handled on the local level would further enhance police-community relations.

     In the larger jurisdictions where SWAT teams are occasionally needed, training should be standardized and intense. Officer assigned to routine patrol should not receive SWAT training, or be issued paramilitary weapons. SWAT operations should be subjected to enhanced civilian oversight and, if there are too many botched or low-risk raids, disbanded. Legislators, in cases where victims of wrong-house raids sue the government, might consider a kind of tort law reform that would make the recovery of civil damages less difficult.

     The demilitarization of policing should not be confused with lax law enforcement or criminal leniency. It's a matter of how to enforce the law, not if to enforce it.

3 comments:

  1. Yes! you are so right on Jim!
    I've read about in my own semi-rural community about the overreaction for situations that could or, as in the past, would have been handled more with commonsense & civility. Do you think we could learn something from the largely unarmed British Police Force training?

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  2. Thanks for your affirmation. I respect your opinion.

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