In light of the spotlight on police militarization following publication of Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop, there has been a good deal of discussion generated, even within the ranks of the police. At Police State USA, a retired Cincinnati police lieutenant offers his perspective.
The post begins:
This past week I was over on Officer.com trying to convince some hot-headed, patriot-hating young cops that the Constitution is actually the law of the land. I failed. One of them refers to open carriers as “attention whores.” I was denounced as a traitor to law enforcement for insisting that gun owners actually have rights that LEO’s are legally and morally bound to respect.
It got me thinking about the great gulf that separates the law enforcement profession that I knew as compared to the one that exists today. I never thought I’d be one of those geezers that says, “I just don’t understand this younger generation today!” But the fact is, I am, and I don’t.
One of the most significant aspects of Thomas’ post is his discussion of “command presence,” that thing cops do when they scream at people, talk over them, ignore their questions or statements, and generally persist in making inane assertions to control the situation that come off so poorly in videos.
For those who never got the idea of why police behaved in such a bizarre way, it offers some explanation, although it similarly suggests that cops today are doing it very wrong and in a substantially counterproductive manner. Still, it helps to better understand how and why police behave as they do, as offensive as their conduct often appears to everyone else.
Please give Harry Thomas’ post a full read, as it offers a great juxtaposition to the views of many cops on the job today who were weaned on military weaponry and armored personnel carriers. For those of you in a mindless rush to hate all cops, to turn them all into objects of derision because of what some do, bear in mind that there are cops like Harry Thomas, and Neill Franklin, as well.
Update: And as day follows night, the young bucks challenge the old guard for hegemony with arguments like this, from PoliceOne:
We trainers have spent the past decade trying to ingrain in our students the concept that the American police officer works a battlefield every day he patrols his sector.
Cops on the beat are facing the same dangers on the streets as our brave soldiers do in war. That is why commanders and tactical trainers stress the fact that even on the most uneventful portion of your tour, you can be subjected to combat at a moment’s notice.
What is it with this growing concept that SWAT teams shouldn’t exist? Why shouldn’t officers utilize the same technologies, weapon systems, and tactics that our military comrades do?
Because those are Americans you’re killing, the same ones you swore to protect and serve.
H/T Radley Balko (what a surprise)