I selected two hard news stories that both covered and discussed the improvement on policing and militarization that some police officers have opted to follow leading to hundreds and thousands of unnecessary killings.
Kara Dansky, a counsel for The American Civil Liberties Union, a non-profit organization whose mission is set to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Dansky is also an author of the book: War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing. The book highlighted over 800 Special and Weapon Tactic raids or SWAT raids.
Dansky speaks on the issue by saying, “We found that police overwhelmingly use SWAT raids not for extreme emergencies like hostage situations but to carry out such basic police work [as]serving warrants or search for a small amount of drugs, carried out by ten or more police officers armed with assault rifles, flash bang grenades, and battering rams, these paramilitary raids disproportionately impacted people of color, sending the clear message that the families being raided are the enemy.”
Since these statements made by Dansky, The American Civil Liberties Union has released results of police militarization as they completed research for their year-long study on police militarization. This study shows over 800 deployments of SWAT teams among 20 local, state and federal police agencies from 2011 to 2012.
Some findings reported the following: 62 percent of the SWAT raids surveyed were to conduct searches for drugs, but with just under 80 percent were to serve a search warrant, meaning eight in ten SWAT raids were not admitted to arrest a school shooter, hostage taker or escaped felon which are common justifications for these tactics, but actions were carried out to investigate someone only suspected of committing a crime.
Of the 80 percent of search warrants served, only 7 percent were actually for hostages, barricades or active shooting scenarios. Dansky concludes her following statements by saying, “This unnecessary violence causes property damage, injury, and death.”
Other results showed that in at least 36 percent of the SWAT raids studies found no contraband of any kind, but due to incomplete police reports on these particular raids this figure could be high as 65 percent.
Research also showed the SWAT tactics are often times used disproportionately on people of color while also reporting that 65 percent of SWAT deployments caused some kind of forced entry into a private home. These could have occurred each of the following ways: by a battering ram, a boot or some sort of explosive device. In a list of about half of these raids police failed to locate a weapon of any kind, which in most cases were listed as the core reason for violent tactics.
The ACLU reported a lot more research conducted in recent years, however this is just a few listed to inform those on police militarization and the severity of it all.
Another news article I found on New York Times is by Adrian Perkins, who is a second year law school student at Harvard University as well as a former Army Officer in the United States Army who served in Iraq and Afghanistan discusses how police can do a better job of recruiting officers.
From prior experienced I feel like Perkins has some really good points as he states, “Ideally, our police departments should focus on improving diversity within the force, but cultural training would also be good.”
I agree with Perkins about improvement in diversity within the police departments. I think this would help with understanding the importance of other people. Police officers are more likely to investigate a situation first before jumping to any type of conclusion first. I believe that investigative work is a vital component before doing anything else.
Perkins also adds, “Actively recruiting from the military could help on both fronts.” This is something that I also agree with equally as much because the military provides people with extensive training and what better than to hire militants for police departments who are already experienced and who are also just as willing to fight and protect, but more effectively when doing so.
Both authors’ perspectives and key points shared were very important and vital to fixing the issue of militarization that some police have become accustom to while in the force.
Perkins’ article was perfect because it supported the ongoing question of how militarization in the police force could be both avoided and fixed. With Perkins prior experience in the Army, his opinions will be great contributors to many of the police departments all around the world.
Dansky shared the cold hard facts from the various studies conducted in prior years dealing with police officers killing innocent people. Both these stories take advantage of digital storytelling tools because there are constant reminders and evidence caught on video and reported through media sites like CNN, Fox News and many other popular news media outlets.
These tragedies have caused communities to come together whether that be with peaceful protests, organized movements or senseless killing of other police officers.The pain is just as equally felt through each of these shared tools and the public is able to connect with the issue.
Though, Perkins had good suggestions on how to avoid future injustices, I feel like he could have added more of his personal background that he experienced while being in the Army. I feel like that would have added a bit of character to his writing, but I do feel his suggestions were helpful in fixing the severity of militarization in the police force.
Dansky, covered all key areas in her writing. She shared conducted research studies that supported the topic at hand while also sharing her opinions on the injustices that are effecting minority groups.
Dansky’s writing was very strong and offered a lot of support throughout. Dansky’s work is very admirable and helpful when discussing militarization in the police force. Her added conducted research studies definitely adds a lot of credibility to her writing. By including the research studies it gives the audience a chance to fairly form their own opinions on said subject.
Both news stories were great, however Danksy had an extremely credible and interesting writing overall. I
I believe that police militarization is still a really big important issue that needs to be addressed. The perfect way to begin to address these injustices happening all over the world is effective recruitment. I feel like it would be a great step in the right direction not only for police officers, but for the communities that these officers are put in position to serve and protect.