More on Militarization of Police

imagesThe problem of police militarization is more than the use of armored vehicles, SWAT teams, and camouflaged uniforms – it’s also how we train police. In many instances, candidates are introduced to police in a training academy atmosphere that resembles boot camp more than a college classroom. I wrote about this problem in “Arrested Development”:

“In the past, I had set some things in place that were now helping me institute [new leadership]. The first was that I eliminated the military-style atmosphere of the police academy. When I was introduced to the academy class that was already in training before I was appointed, the class stood at attention when I entered the room. In fact, I found that not only did they stand at attention when I entered, but that they did so for every supervisor who came into their class. I also found that their method of teaching left much to be desired. This was more like middle school than a police academy. This, I knew, wasn’t how adults learn… I wanted the police academy to be run like a college or university. If I was going to begin to build a new future for police officers, it had to begin with their first police experience — the training academy…

“[My] first goal was to improve training… The second was to develop leaders…

“An academy must be of sufficient length to be able to train officers in the basic skills necessary to be a competent and effective police officer. It must also acculturate them into a new style of policing and embrace its values [and realize] that the most powerful weapon they had… was their brain, not their firearm.”

Unknown“Even more unsettling is to learn that well over half of our nation’s police academies train in an atmosphere police trainers themselves identify as stress-based; that is, intimidating, even bullying. This makes half of American police academies more like military boot camps or correctional facilities than places in which college-educated young men and women are prepared to be professional police practitioners…

“While the improper practice of some professions may result in inconvenience or monetary loss, improper practice on the part of police may result in not only the loss of one’s liberty, but also life…”