Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Militarization of Law Enforcement: We Are Up to 100 or so SWAT Raids per Day in the US

Radley Balko, a senior investigative journalist for The Huffington Post, has written a book titled Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces

Balko explains in great detail why Americans should become increasingly alarmed over the militarization of law enforcement agencies explaining how figures such as Daryl Gates helped accelerate the militarization of police departments, his response to those who claim law enforcement should have access to weapons and programs reserved for the military, and how citizens are beginning to hold officers who violate the law accountable.

Kevin Kelly: As we approach the 1970’s and progress forward, you document how the pace of the militarization of law enforcement continues unabated. One of the figures that was instrumental in this process is a man by the name of Daryl Gates. Could you describe who he is?

Radley Balko: Daryl Gates is sort of the father of the SWAT Team. He came up with the idea after he was in charge of the LAPD’s response to the Watts riots in 1965. He was really kind of overwhelmed by how ill equipped the LAPD was to respond to the uprising. His idea was to come up with these elite forms of police officers who would be training as the military was training.

You have specialists such as snipers, crowd control people, and somebody who would have been trained at breaching doorways and the entrance to the buildings. You would have this elite team that you would pull out in these situations where they had an immediate threat to the public, an overwhelming threat to the public, and you would send this team in and they would take care of it. The idea was you were bringing violence to diffuse a situation that was already violent, and the idea quickly spread.

Read the rest here.