Militarization of Urban Police

In the modern world, where local policing and national security are becoming very important and enmeshed into one, it is astoundingly easy to convince citizens that they live in an unsafe environment. Therefore, the police force has emerged as the sole arbiter of what the nation needs in order to stay safe. However, why would people be willing to encounter frontline officers looking like an army occupying a hostile territory? The fact that the police are becoming overly militarized is by itself odd and vexing, but once accounted for how little control and oversight the force is subject to, and how the power is being abused over minorities, especially communities of color, it becomes almost terrifying. The government does not adequately estimate this problem, leading to an abomination that stains the honorable credibility and reputation of well-trained and talented law-enforcement officers throughout the country.


Social Problem

A social problem is a condition, which at least some people of the community see as undesirable. These include various aspects of life such as murder, traffic-related deaths, violence, drug abuse, or terrorist attacks. Such social problems take place at state, local, national, and even international levels. The issue of increasing police violence is not a problem of individuals but that of the society as a whole, as seen through the key tenet of sociology personal is not simply personal, it is political and societal. Cases of racism, discrimination and abuse have become a major social problem, where law enforcement officers severely mistreat people. However, adjudicating those who are responsible for specific issues does not address the root of the issue. Law enforcement is a part of the legal system. Therefore, it is practically impossible for the court to find errors in the work of the department.  Nevertheless, after the recent events in Ferguson, the media coverage of the issue has grown significantly. There had been talks about marching on Washington D.C. in order to stop the violence and many of its advocates are African-American. Social movements alter the community through building coalitions of divergent groups in order to solve structural problems of specific foundations.

Militarization of Police Forces

The dangers of police militarization are manifest and numerous. Excessive power, as seen from the Ferguson incident, alters the mentality and degrades self-control of the members of law enforcement as well as subjects their targeted communities to unaccountable brutality and rampant abuse. Therefore, militarism only escalates risk of unnecessary violence, unfairly affects people of color and threatens individual liberties. One might define it as a process where police officers organize themselves according to the military and draw knowledge and skills from it and the tenets of militarism. On the other hand, members of the police risk their lives in order to protect ordinary people and, from my standpoint, civilians should remember the social contract of giving up some of their rights to the government in order to feel guarded, safe, and have liberty to do what one pleases. As with all social problems, the modern state of the US police force is a very debatable argument, however, with proper rules and oversight, the militarization of the officers would help to create a perfect union, insure domestic tranquility, provide a common defense and secure the Blessings of Liberty to our Posterity and ourselves.

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System Blame Approach

Some might argues that we live in a culture of blame. Parents, teachers, managers want to instill values of personal responsibility to those who they have control over. We expect individuals to feel bad when they fail to perform their duties. System blame approach is an assumption that social problems result from conditions around the individuals, therefore placing the blame on the whole system rather than on a single person. The same effect took place with member of the police in the case when two members of the media got assaulted for no apparent reason, as well as in the case when peaceful protesters were attacked with tear gas and referred to as animals, and bastards, and, finally, after unprovoked shooting of Michael Brown, a young African-American from Ferguson, Missouri. However, this approach is not a correct solution. Although officers are actually at fault in some of the issues, it is not always a failure of the system. With growing hate for the police, individuals are starting to assault, disrespect, and harass law enforcers up to the point that they make a mistake. Although brutality and discrimination are an issue, we have a system where hatred towards officers is a normal phenomenon. This is, in fact, ironic. People that support this structure are mostly members of minorities, not only African American but also Asians, Hispanic, and any group that has ever felt discriminated against. Moreover, they are implementing the same approach towards police officers merely because the media highlighted a few situations that involved corrupt and racist members of the police. System blame approach entails a statement that all African-American people are thieves because a black man has robbed a store once or that all Muslims are terrorists because some Muslim extremist committed an act of terror. Implementing restraints towards the police as a whole would be the exact definition of discrimination, which the community is trying to avoid at all costs.

Person Blame Approach

The person-blame approach considers social problems as a type of individuals pathology. Although students and practitioners are largely taught that accidents occur due to multiple factors and are caused by complex interactions of elements of a system, person-oriented approaches must still prevail in the safety management area. In the case of force abuse by the police, the cause of accidents is also rooted within a person, and therefore, disciplinary actions and legal investigations should take place in order to keep the officers accountable for provision of safety. Most people see themselves as law abiding, however, when they receive an elevated level of power, some turn to abuse it. Not all police officers are dangerous for the public. However, some of them do get affected by severe working conditions of dealing with drugs, domestic violence, and post 9/11 security expectations, which creates a creeping battlefield mentality that remains active even when dealing with peaceful citizens. Nevertheless, educational programs, poster campaigns, and efficient training can solve the officers violence issue. By the end of such programs, individuals tending to abuse their position of power must be dismissed.

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Any social system ultimately consists of people. Society exists due to interactions between individuals, who are sometimes mean, aggressive and abusive. Systemic explanations cannot be considered true without former person blame analysis, because it tends to assume a very dogmatic and rigid approach to understanding the society and creates a picture of no free will. If the people in the US continue blaming the police force as a whole for the actions of its specific individuals, the relations between law and society will deteriorate, eventually leading to further police militarization due to increased danger and aggression from the citizens towards police officers. Identifying the people responsible for the disruptions in society, on the other hand, would help to amend the image of the police force and grant back their credibility and reputation. Adjusting the police to the will of the nation through extinguishing the failing links in the chain would bring back smart law enforcement techniques, and, more importantly, secure minorities from subconscious and institutionalized racism. 


Jan 19, 2021 in Law
Demographic Problems in Canada
Social Conflict Theory

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