Over Militarization of Civilian Law Enforcement?

In the recent incidents that have polarized television, computer, and smartphone screens across the United States, an underlying topic of conversation has erupted. No matter your location in the nation, major metropolitan cities and funneling through to the smallest of local towns and villages, law enforcement has become decidedly less good old boy and much more professional, but why so Para-military?

Over the decades, many positive changes have come in the wake of a reaction to less than positive situations. Change is always difficult, even under the best of circumstances and for the best of intentions. In the halls of law enforcement change is frequently slow and unfortunately all too often almost always reactionary.

Credit: Public Affairs Books/Jenna Pope
Credit: Public Affairs Books/Jenna Pope

The outcry from many in the media today is that civilian law enforcement is over militarized. This comes as the media has polarized on the response of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials in the wake of the protest events across the nation. In Missouri and elsewhere, the weapons, equipment, and tactics constantly visible on television and in print and digital media may have seemed to an unassuming law abiding citizen as excessive. However, without the show of force, including the weapons, tactics, and equipment, there would have been much more bloodshed and destruction.

This militarization of civilian law enforcement has been evolving since the end of World War II. The troops coming home, to a rejuvenated nation, were in need of jobs and they had a new skill set to use. Certainly many war veterans returned to employment they held before serving. However, many others found employment in law enforcement.

The growth of the nation since World War II, a la Baby Boomers, and through the Korean War and the Vietnam War, has not been isolated to birthrates. The advancement in technology, tactics, and procedures in law enforcement alone have grown exponentially, but mostly as reactions to the changing national climate. With protests and sometimes-violent clashes between citizens and law enforcement, the need for new procedures and methods were mandated.

The race riots of the 1960s and the actions of militant warfare by domestic guerilla groups in the 1970s brought the SWAT, special weapons and tactics phenomena to the big cities across the nation. Before SWAT, the agencies and officers were frequently out-gunned and in far greater danger, thus putting the public at greater risk.

The acts of terrorism on American soil from the early 1990s to September 11th through to present day have transformed the landscape of not only of our American way of life, but also how law enforcement has been forced to perform their duties. The need for every officer to be efficiently protected and sufficiently equipped is as essential to the preservation of the safety of our country as a whole from enemies both foreign and domestic. Not to mention the survival of the individual officers.

We still have veterans returning home from war today and most agencies value not only their service, but also the training and experience they have attained in the process. How do we empower the police to protect us and expect them not to employ the necessary tools to fight the battle? Why would we expect military veterans not be militarizing law enforcement?

Thank you men and women in blue for protecting and serving.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Bergen Mease

Author, baseball fan, Florida State University Seminoles sports nut, Gulf Coast native usually somewhere with his feet in the sand.

Those are just a few things that could generally describe Bergen Mease. However, more importantly he is a Believer in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He is a patriot of the United States of America that comes from a US Navy family. He lives with his wife and children, whom they are raising with conservative leanings. He served as a law enforcement officer and more recently as a law enforcement and emergency services Chaplain. His mission is to write about topics that will make everyone think about how they treat others both personally and professionally.
Bergen Mease

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