Posted: March 26th, 2021

Militarization of Police Essay

Militarization of Police

Militarization of Police
A 2019 research conducted in the U.S showed that police officers killed over one thousand people while carrying on with their duties. According to Delehanty et al. (2017), the militarization of police has been an issue of concern in the U.S since the early twentieth century. Police militarization has made the public lose trust and confidence in law enforcement. According to another survey conducted in 2016, the public was against police militarization, claiming police to have gone far with weapons and equipment. According to the study, police officers conduct arrests, search private properties without a search warrant. The main plan of law enforcement, which is to protect the public, has been affected for a long time due to police militarization.
The 2017 statistics show that improvement in police weapons value does not reduce crimes but rather increases the level of criminality. Police militarization has been a driving force towards the use of excessive force restricted according to peel’s nine policing principles. On the other hand, police militarization led to reduced crimes but an increase in force, according to other studies. Ferguson’s case is a case that attracts attention to the impacts of police militarization where law enforcement believes the use of force is key in reducing crime and maintaining peace (Delehanty et al., 2017). The criminal justice system spends many resources on the purchase and improvement of military equipment instead of focusing on other strategies that would reduce crime. Rather than empowering the officers to become effective public servants, they give them power and exercise unlawful discretion. The military’s high investment in state of the art weapons is based on training, insurance, storage, fueling, and purchasing. Not all jurisdictions and criminal justice systems can afford to acquire this artillery.
Criminal justice agencies have used videos, such as the SWAT raid videos showing police using weapons and force towards the public. Police weaponization is no longer a form of heroism. According to Delehanty et al. (2017), law enforcement agencies produce unqualified police officers due to the influence of pf videos and misleading advice on weaponization. Police officers learn police militarization during the training process, which fascinates most individuals, leading to brutal and aggressive police officers in society. Police weaponization hinders law enforcement officials from building a healthy relationship with the public (Delehanty et al., 2017). The militarization of police officers has been a way to protect the police but put public safety at risk. According to reports, police weaponization is a police strategy that focuses on black communities, such as in Ferguson, a small city within most black Americans. Police weaponization is a method that trades public safety for civil liberty, where police officers neglect human rights to warranty and fair treatment under the eighth and fourteenth amendment.
From research, police militarization has not reduced crime or rather enhanced civil liberty. Instead of police weaponization, the criminal justice system can focus on shift the finances and the resources into dealing with serious crimes instead of using unnecessary weapons, even petty crimes (Bieler, 2016). Building a positive relationship between the police and the public is one of the impactful ways of promoting public safety, building trust, and confidence towards law enforcement. The Ferguson police department could also use Street Outreach Workers (SOW) instead of police militarization (Koslicki, and Willits, 2018). SWO is a critical part of law enforcement, where the community policing strategy would assist create a better relationship with the public. SWO conducts community research about the relationship between police and community members and looks for ways to enhance relationships and build trust.
Today, SWO is paid to build a relationship between law enforcement and the criminal justice system, reducing violence (Koslicki and Willits, 2018). Police officers should adopt proper policing tactics that do not entail force and respect civil liberty. According to the peels nine principles, police use of force, including the use of a weapon, should be based on three factors, if the suspect does not heed police warning if persuasion and advice did not work to maintain peace. In maintaining order, the police officer should only use minimum power to achieve the desired objective. According to the standards and requirements of discretion and use of force, the court should consider factors, such as weapons and back-ups (Bieler, 2016). Police officers cannot use a weapon towards a suspect who is not armed or does not have a back-up. The police’s weaponization influences police ability to make sound discretionary decisions, hence choosing excessive force towards defenseless suspects.
I believe threats from terrorism increase police militarization, where terrorists and cartels use complex weapons in their operations. The use of deadly weapons by criminals, such as terrorists, has made the criminal justice system crime up with militarization policy (Bieler, 2016). For instance, terrorists have been reported to use deadly weapons, such as grenades, firearms, and drones in conducting their mission. According to a study conducted in 20156, around seventy-five percent of homicide cases that took place in the United States involved the use of weapons. The increased gang formation has led to police weaponization, where gang members use explosives to conduct mass homicides. Donald Trump’s administration was in support of police weaponization as a way to deal with terrorism. Still, it has caused more harm since local police officers use weapons in conducting their daily patrols in the community.
Racial discrimination is a form of police brutality, and overreach of power is common and very impactful among the affected community. With the increased police weaponization, racial discrimination has been reported, especially during the war on drugs and counter-terrorism policies (Mummolo, 2018). Police weaponization as a target of minority communities based on various studies has affected the black community, especially after the Ferguson police department shooting. Mostly, police officer causes personal damage among minority communities, which is restricted under the fourth amendment, fourteenth amendment, and the civil rights act of 1871. Racial discrimination is related to other forms of police brutality, such as false arrest, wrongful punishment, wrongful searches, and seizures, common among the American black communities (Koslicki et al., 2020). Racial discrimination is common in the black and Hispanic communities. Black people are frequently stopped and profiled, especially when conducting traffic searches. Research conducted in 2019 showed that twenty-four percent of police weaponization victims were black Americans. The majority of the victims were minors, others mentally ill and unarmed.
I would recommend using street outreach workers to create a good relationship between the public and law enforcement to reduce crime and excessive use of force. Although it has faced various criticism from the public (Koslicki and Willits, 2018), SOW is an effective strategy. SWO workers receive payments from the government, where the workers create a close relationship with the city chiefs and sheriffs that assist in conducting research and communicate with the public. I would also recommend the use of the SARA model as an alternative to police weaponization. SARA model involves four main elements, scanning, analysis, response, and assessment. The model helps identify a recurrent issue to the public, and police, for instance, lack cooperation. After identifying the issue, the criminal justice system prioritizes the issue and develop goals. Through the model, law enforcement researched to analyze the problem and develop available data on the area. The model assists law enforcement in responding to the public and the police’s problem to identify the way forward (Bieler, 2016). The analysis element assists in carrying out the designed strategies, and lastly, the assessment elements assist in ensuring the program’s policies are effective. Also, community orientates policing is effective policing methods that focus on fair treatment, prosecution, and equality, for instance, the office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Today eighty-one percent of citizens have received community policing services in the united states.


Bieler, S. (2016). Police militarization in the USA: the state of the field. Policing: an international journal of police strategies & management.
Delehanty, C., Mewhirter, J., Welch, R., & Wilks, J. (2017). Militarization and police violence: The case of the 1033 program. Research & Politics, 4(2), 2053168017712885.
Koslicki, W. M., & Willits, D. (2018). The iron fist in the velvet glove? Testing the militarization/community policing paradox. International journal of police science & management, 20(2), 143-154.
Koslicki, W. M., Lytle, D. J., Willits, D. W., & Brooks, R. (2020). ‘Rhetoric without reality’or effective policing strategy? An analysis of the relationship between community policing and police fatal force. Journal of Criminal Justice, 101730.
Mummolo, J. (2018). Militarization fails to enhance police safety or reduce crime but may harm police reputation. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 115(37), 9181-9186.

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