Rise of the warrior cop The militarization of America's police forces

Radley Balko

Book - 2013

Relates the history of American police forces from the constables and sheriffs of the past to the modern-day SWAT teams and riot squads that blur the line between police officers and soldiers.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

0 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 363.2/Balko Due Jun 16, 2022
New York : PublicAffairs 2013
First edition
Physical Description
xvi, 382 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Radley Balko (-)
  • From Rome to writs
  • Soldiers in the streets
  • A quick history of cops in America
  • The 1960s : from root causes to brute force
  • The 1970s : pinch and retreat
  • The 1980s : us and them
  • The 1990s : it's all about the numbers
  • The 2000s : a whole new war
  • Reform.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Journalist Balko opens with a history of policing in America, documenting the shift to police officers resembling soldiers more than peace officers, both in mentality and equipment, a trend that has had negative effects on the relationship between police and citizens. He asks important questions about the long-term impact of a military mind-set. [Page 40]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

"Are cops constitutional?" It's a bold and provocative question, and the more Balko (Overkill) delves into the history of law enforcement, the more that question seems worth considering. And yet it's not the mere presence of a police force that concerns the Cato Institute policy analyst (he readily concedes that one is necessary to any functional society); it's the force's gradual militarization that bothers him and many who've found themselves on the wrong side of a SWAT team. Our country's "founding statesmen were adamant about the dangers of armed, standing forces," but Balko argues that we have strayed far from their vision. From the creation of the first SWAT teams in response to the violent riots of the 1960s, to the literal war on drugs, the much-publicized crackdowns on the Occupy movements, and the increasingly frequent deployments of heavily armed units to address minor incidents (underage drinking, anyone? unlicensed barbers?), the list of questionable tactics and militarized raids has grown longer with each passing year, especially in the wake of 9/11. The problem, Balko insists, is that we "tend not to take notice of such long-developing trends, even when they directly affect us. The first and perhaps largest barrier to halting police militarization has probably been awareness." After reading Balko, you'll be aware, alright—and scared. Agent: Howard Yoon, Ross Yoon. (July 9) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An award-winning investigative journalist and civil liberties specialist describes the history of American police forces from the constables and sheriffs of the past to the modern-day SWAT teams and riot teams that he asserts blurs the line between police officers and soldiers. 25,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Relates the history of American police forces from the constables and sheriffs of the past to the modern-day SWAT teams and riot teams that blur the line between police officers and soldiers.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The last days of colonialism taught America’s revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But according to investigative reporter Radley Balko, over the last several decades, America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other?an enemy.Today’s armored-up policemen are a far cry from the constables of early America. The unrest of the 1960s brought about the invention of the SWAT unit?which in turn led to the debut of military tactics in the ranks of police officers. Nixon’s War on Drugs, Reagan’s War on Poverty, Clinton’s COPS program, the post?9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs.In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.