25 November 2017
CJ 310- 33084
Military Police: Are They Good For Our Communities?
Throughout the years, policing has evolved in many ways that people couldn’t have even imagined. During the beginning of policing in America, officers were known as “watchmen”, and were volunteer workers. This method proved to be ineffective for crime fighting, and many watchmen were only doing the job to avoid military service (Gaines, Kappeler, and Vaughn 1999). It was not until 1838 that the first municipal police force was established, which was in the city of Boston, and later followed by New York City in 1845 (Harring, 1983). Once established, volunteer watchmen were no longer protecting the streets, full time employees had now taken on the job, and were known as police officers. From then to now, police departments have seen much advancement, both social, and technological. With this being said, an advancement that shouldn’t be taking place is our local police departments being socialized in the same category as our military.
Our police officers are not military; therefore people within law enforcement shouldn’t behave as such. Lately, there has been many officer-involved shootings, and a result of this could be because of the militaristic mindset that some law enforcement personnel has. Violence as a police officer should always come as a last resort, and many officers have frayed away from this mindset. Situations that involve police acting militaristic has lowered the trust of the community toward police, and because of this it has been shown that officers who wear body cameras increase the communities trustworthiness toward law enforcement (Press, 2014). It’s very unfortunate that in order for the general public to feel safe around those that are supposed to be protecting them, is by seeing that their is a camera on there body watching their every move. According to text, the military “command and control” system just doesn’t work for policing in America, (Stafford, 2006, p. 159-160), and this is very true.
Many people may agree with the concept of “law and order”, which is definitely what we should have in America, but with this often comes the mindset of militaristic policing. Across the nation there are many SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) forces, which take on the most life threatening situations that any police officer could face. 80% of cities with a population between 25,000 and 80,000 have an assigned SWAT team, which raid over 50,000 times a year (Fund, 2014). This can be seen as a reason for police forces to be militaristic, considering the situations being faced by these designated teams are along the lines of actual military work, which means that it’s logical to be prepared at all times. At the end of the day police work is a dangerous job, and many people believe that being put in such dangerous situations on a daily basis, means that our officers should be trained to face this danger,...