Essay On Police Militarization
In recent years, the degree of police militarization has augmented. Police militarization refers to a situation where domestic police progressively embrace the dogmas of militarism and thus bearing the demarcation between the military and police (Kraska, 2007). Policemen are bestowed to maintain law and order with the power, as well as keeping the peace. Intrinsically, they are supposed to uphold the domestic laws, which protect the citizens’ rights and property. However, the police are only expected to use violence in its capacity as the last resort. On the other hand, military forces receive training that equips them with combat tactics with intent to spiflicate external enemies who pose threats to the domestic rights of the citizens of a nation. In addition, military forces are trained under hostile environments so that they are capable of killing an antagonist. Principally, the distinction between policing and military is absolute. However, the government uses the tactic of police militarization in order to exploit and oppress the citizens. The government takes advantage of the tactics, organizational structure and weaponry of the military force to abuse the power conferred upon it. The government intensifies the threat of violence on those citizens who deviate from the government’s edict and are thus repressed by militarizing the police. The violence that is believed to be a means of protecting the rights of the citizens is used as a tool for undermining the very rights (Hall and Coyne, 2013). This discussion will demonstrate the militarization of the police by the government to reach its ends by presenting and refuting the counterarguments against this assertion and providing a myriad of ways in which the government facilitates this ideology.
It is argued that the militarization of the police is overly important in the fight against the stepped-up terrorism and drugs in the 21st century and that the inherent nature of policing involves militarization. Proponents of these sentiments argue that, similar to other wars, the war on terrorism, and drug interdiction necessitate the use of military tactics, equipment, and even military personnel. The fact that these wars take place both locally and internationally has pushed the domestic police to align their behavior and culture to that of the military force. Rather than sticking to their primary role of maintaining law and order, the police assume the duties of the military forces in their domestic executions and these helps them deal better with the conflicts of terrorism and drugs. Despite the fiddling justification in these assertions, the lack of proper training in the military has detrimental consequences for the police when they attempt to mimic the military forces. Besides, the abuse of power and force is unmistakable from the previous cases regarding police militarization. For instance, there are a bundle of reports that indicate the injury and death caused by the police while using “no-knock” and other military tactics, even when the victims are nonviolent, unarmed and others are even found innocent upon investigating such incidents (Hall and Coyne, 2013). What is more is that regardless of the militarized nature of policing, the degree of police militarization is errant. Also, it has no essence in achieving the primary role of policing: maintaining peace and order (Kraska, 2007). Given this, there is no ground for justifying police militarization since the consequences are dire.
The government has capitalized to militarize the police on the advancements in technology so as to reach its ends. In the modern world, information and surveillance technology plays a key role in ameliorating the operations of the military forces, as well as the domestic police. In fact, activities such as accessing historical profiles of criminals, monitoring of suspects and crime mapping, are now done through the internet as opposed to the traditional on-site surveillance. Given the compatibility of these novel techniques in both the military and the police, the government has gone to an extent of authorizing the police to employ technologies, which were previously exclusive to the military, such as retina scanners, satellite monitoring, thermal imaging and facial-recognition systems. By so doing, the military tactics and capabilities are transferred to the police forces; especially after September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the U.S. (Hall and Coyne, 2013). The result is that the distinction between the domestic police and the military is blurred. Also, the ill motive of the government to subdue the citizens is disguised through the government’s claim that it has the rights of the citizen at heart.
Perceived and actual crises present the government with an opportunity to militarize the police and thus effectively exploit the subjects. Besides the actual crises that a government may be facing, it is possible for the government to enervate the citizens by perceiving some crises ingeniously. These crises are nuclear war, drug gangs and terrorism (Kraska, 2007). In essence, the government’s intent is to augment is scope and size because of the public’s tendency to turn to the government for assistance during times of crisis. More specifically, crises that are executed both domestically and abroad come forth as the means through which the government militarizes the police. The idea is that the desperate nature of the public during periods of crisis makes it gullible. Thus, it responds positively to the government's lobby to institute policies of spending on the security system, as well as the merging of the efforts of the police and the military in countering prevailing adversities like terrorism and drugs (Paul and Birze, 2004). This move by the government serves to satisfy the greedy interests of the government officials who excessively allocate resources to the military and police with the aim of garnering the windfall profits because of that. Besides, the government’s intention to quash the public is attained through the increased power of the police through militarization process.
The government phased out the traditional police uniform and introduced uniforms akin to those of the military to boot so as to further its subjugation of the citizens. Contrary to the traditional police uniforms, the modern ones emphasize on camouflage and black colors, similar to those of the military forces. These militarized uniforms symbolize violence of the police, something that is often exclusively associated with the military. Even though, the violence, in this case, is just perceived, the idea of the government was to debar the public from questioning the actions of the police by prompting subservience and fear among the subjects. However, this emblematic violence is portrayed in the guise of respect, reverence, prominence and integrity that is associated with the military. The public’s response to the militarized police uniforms is attributed to the psychological legitimacy granted to the people in uniform (Paul and Birze, 2004). Indeed, the government succeeds in utilizing this fraudulent tactic in a cagey manner because several citizens are convinced.
In conclusion, police militarization is one of the tricks that the government uses to increase its size and scope and hence intensify its suppression on the public. In spite of the applicability of the police militarization in the fight against drugs and terrorism, the tactic has proved damaging. Besides, the lack of checks on the degree of police militarization indisposed the argument of using this technique in the police operations. Technological advancements have heightened the opportunities for the government to militarize the police by allowing the police to employ military tactics. Crises have also compounded this situation through the government’s move to militarize the police so that they can take advantage of the windfall profits by extravagantly allocating resources. In addition, the militarized uniform of the modern police depicts the government’s intention to suppress the public by inhibiting any inquiry into the actions of the police. Unless the public recognizes and becomes wary of these tricks used by the government, the longevity of the impunity and immorality of the government is ostensible. Citizens ought to consider the two sides of the governments lobby to put in place policies if any; change is to be realized in the system.
Hall, A.R. & Coyne, C. J. (2013). The Militarization of U.S. Domestic Policing. The Independent
Review, Vol. 17(4), pp. 485–504
Kraska, P.B. (2007, December 13). Militarization and Policing-Its Relevance to 21st Century
Police. Oxford Journal of Law and Policing, Vol. 1 (4), pp.501-513. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Paul, J. & Birzer. (2004, November). Images of Power: An Analysis of the Militarization of
Police Uniforms and Messages of Service. Free Inquiry in Creative sociology, Vol. 32 (2), pp.121-128.