The increased militarization of the police in the United States has been a topic of controversy for decades, brought to the public eye in notable events such as the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of battering rams in the 1980s and the siege of the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in the 1990s, among others. The issue of police militarism has been back at the forefront of criminal justice policy discussions in the wake of the militaristic police response to the protests that took place after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. This book examines the issue of militarization in a post-Ferguson environment from the perspective of those inside policing.
Drawing from a variety of data—including historical analysis of newspaper articles to examine the use of firearms in policing; original data from police respondents attending the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia; interviews with police chiefs and tactical officers regarding their direct experiences; and a sample of National Academy attendees reporting on the deployment of patrol rifles in policing—this work provides a nuanced look at police militarization that will inform future conceptual discussions and empirical research into the phenomenon. Considerations identified for police policy-makers include politics, media, leadership, and marketing. These themes are explored in detail, suggesting multiple dimensions, both theoretical and empirical, to better understand policing and policy, making this book an excellent resource for students, scholars, and professionals in law enforcement, political science, and public administration.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Methods and Data
Chapter 3: History
Chapter 4: National Academy Survey
Chapter 5: Professional Opinions
Chapter 6: Police Chief Interviews
Chapter 7: Tactical Officer Interviews
Chapter 8: The Patrol Rifle
Chapter 9: Conclusion
The Routledge Innovations in Policing explores innovations in the field of policing and offers the latest insight into the field through research, theoretical applications, case studies, and evaluations. Famous innovations developed over the course of the late twentieth century and into the turn of the twenty-first include approaches such as community policing, "broken windows" policing, problem-oriented policing, "pulling levers" policing, third-party policing, hot spots policing, Compstat, and evidence-based policing. Some of these approaches have been successful, and some have not, while new innovations continue to arise. Improving police performance through innovation is often not straightforward. Police departments are highly resistant to change, but through such research we expect to find further refinement of our knowledge of "what works" in policing, under what circumstances particular strategies may work, and why these strategies are effective in improving police performance.