OCCJE Journal: Praxis

Spring 2017 Edition

This study seeks to investigate whether or not the increased police militarization has in fact truly affected society's perceptions of the police. In the United States we have seen the use of militarized equipment by our local (civilian) police departments on the rise. With various militarized weapons such as: assault rifles, night vision technologies and even camouflaged gear from wartime efforts being distributed to local police agencies as a part of military surplus transfers. The "war on drugs", "war on crime" and "war on terror" are said to be at the forefront of why we have and need such equipment and tactics. Though, is militarization the safest most effective way to combat these professed "wars"? This study analyzes the events leading up to how policing came to be, in addition to detailing how militarized policing came to exist. Furthermore, it showcases the evolution of policing strategies over the years; including the creation of the Special Weapons and Tactics units otherwise known as SWAT. This study is an effort to see if society feels that they are at war with police, but most importantly to gauge society's attitude as well as their perception towards the increased militarization of American Policing. Findings suggest that gender, income and area of study in college are some of the factors that have played a significant role in how individuals perceive police. Results of this investigation may help us find a way to aid and offset this tension amongst police and their constituents; thus in hopes of creating better police and community relations as a result thereof... Read More