The paramilitary structure has been embedded in policing. Since the 1990s, there has been a strong influence of community-oriented policing with less focus on paramilitary structure. There is a concern that modern law enforcement is now drifting towards the militarization of police. Militarization is the process by which the police department opts for martial culture, modus operandi, material, and organization (Hill & Berger, 2009). Paramilitary policing on the other hand refers to the police powers and military capabilities accorded to the armed forces in a given state. This poses the question; is the militarization of police an occurring idea or not? Whether militarization of police is occurring or not, is it conducive to a policing-free society? This paper will examine both sides of the argument and a rational depictive solution will be presented.
Let us begin by examining the opponent’s point of view. The U.S security militarization is emerging with increasingly evident, and the police are the obvious paramilitary manifestation adopted by the policing military ideology (Hill & Berger, 2009). If the police force becomes more militarized, then the more they gather formal and ideological military counterparts. The opponents argue that firstly the paramilitary police or militarization police train the military personnel the usage of special apparel, sophisticated weapons, and machinery (Hill & Berger, 2009). Secondly, they adopt a ranking system that replicates the military structure, and finally yet importantly, they do not deploy as individuals but rather as units, and if applied it might be harmful to not only the offenders but also the innocent suspects from a local setup. Two factors that result in military police are globalization and the police forces’ proclivity, which embrace the policing militarized forms (Hill & Berger, 2009). Globalization is an independent force, which changes the nature of a sovereign state in a global system, whereas proclivity refers to the obstruction of institutions to a certain degree (Hill & Berger, 2009).
Still on the opponent’s view, (Prutsok, 2009) suggests that we should be cautious over local military police. He disagrees with the militarization of the local police, elaborating how the police in their full military riot gear are armed with tasers, pepper sprays; automatic weapons among other sophisticated weapons who mercilessly chase children out of the park. He argues that the endorsement of militarization of police is cropping out of the winding war between Afghanistan and Iraq and as a result, most weapons are being donated for the enforcement of domestic law (Prutsok, 2009). For instance, he gives an illustration of a drone military craft deployed in the U.S used in foreign countries to bomb suspected terrorists inclusive of the innocent victims within the U.S embassy. He ponders why harmful weapons deployed by the militarization police should be used on the human race, yet they cause so much harm if used on citizens. According to Andy, the personnel of law enforcement is being indoctrinated to harm the citizens they are supposed to be protecting (Prutsok, 2009).
With the absence of the militarization police, a free conducive society is enhanced. A legitimate policing creates a conducive and fear-free society for the fulfillment of human rights, especially those that enhance political activity, which is the epitome of democracy (Prasad, 2005). Police agencies in most pacific countries are rights-affirming and unbiased thereby playing a vital role in internal protractile conflicts and democracy suppression. These dedicated actions and experiences of police officers have influenced the commonwealth pacific countries with extensive police reforms. A democratic nation calls for democratic policing and the initiatives of police reforms tremendously strengthen and encourage good democracy and governance globally (Prasad, 2005).
Viewing the proponent’s side, it is essential for the military model to adopt the militarization police throughout police reforms. Early reformers preferred the military means to shape the urban police concept (Leichtman, 2007). Militarization of police has become a prominent justice with respect to the criminal topics, but its current visibility is a revolving original ideal reform. In his book, Robert Fogelson, a police historian proposed three urban types of policing paradigms; the machine model, professional and military models. The military model has significantly influenced police history in several ways regardless of the criminal justice approval, and it has been labeled as police militarization as though historical militarization was extraneous from the military model (Leichtman, 2007). The military men and the butler were not concerned with the nation’s status but assumed that force militarization would enhance prestige. Just like military war in foreign countries, these military men perceived internal crime as an attack against anti-American influence (Leichtman, 2007)
On top of the proponent list, Americans for a long time now have sustained that their home is their castle and that they are capable of defending it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, this wonderful feeling of being a full and committed citizen might vanish among American citizens. This is as a repercussion of the over twenty years of the American militarization enforcement of civilian law (Hall & Coyne, 2007). The local police operate alongside the unsettling and dramatic increment in the units of paramilitary police, which comprises tactics and special weapons or SWAT. SWAT is commonly used to serve the current narcotics warrant accompanied with unannounced force entry into a citizen’s home. With the increasingly frequent raids of over 40,000 yearly, civilians who are wrongly targeted are subjected to the fear of having their homes invaded by the heavily armed units of paramilitary dressed as soldiers rather than police officers (Hall & Coyne, 2007). The unexpected raids result in needless injuries and deaths of dozens of drug offenders alongside innocent suspects, children, bystanders, and even police officers.
Under two scenarios whereby militarization of police occurred, the law enforcement was not conducive in a free policing society. A significant demerit of the military model was that it elevated corruption, projected to the lawlessness of police and incompetence (Leichtman, 2007). As a result, the Americans sympathized with criminals, became rebellious to the police-military, and declared war against crime based on the weapons used with frequent military critics by media. This act carried out by citizens demonstrated that police were corrupt, incompetent, and unlawful and the police officers felt they had been overtaken by the civilians they were subjected to shield.
According to (Kraska, 2007) most people among them academics, the model of military represents discipline, constraint, a form of patriotism, competence, honor, and control while to other people; it depicts tyranny, abuse of human rights, handling social ideologies through state force and violence. I conclude this discussion by supporting the opponent’s side, simply because simplicity is solace. The government should allow the police officer to exercise their role internally and let the militarization of the police handle the most epitome external attacks. This will prevent the unnecessary deaths of innocent citizens through unexpected raids using the militants’ weapons (Leichtman, 2007). The militarization concepts should however be deployed to illuminate and make concise theoretical sense of disquieting some contemporary policing and police trends.
Hall, A. R., & Coyne, C. J. (n.d.). (2007). The Militarization of U.S.. domestic policing. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_17_04_01_hall.pdf
Hill, S., and Beger, R. (2009). A Paramilitary Policing Juggernaut. SocialJustice, 36(1),25-30.
Kraska, P.B. (2007). Militarization and Policing. Its Relevance to 21st Century Police. Policing, 1(1), 501-513.
Leichtman, E. C. (2007). Complex Harmony: The Military and Professional Models of Policing. CritCrim, 16:53–73.
Prutsok, A. (2006). We Should be Leery of over militarization of local police, pp.1.
Prasad, D. (n.d.). ( 2005) Have American Police Become Militarized? – NYTimes.com. Strengthening democratic policing and accountability in the commonwealth pacific. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/sunday- review/have- American-police-become-militarized.html? pagewanted=all