The difference between police and military

SWAT – special weapons and tactics team ideas grew out of anti-terrorism efforts in the 70’s. It is about using overwhelming force in police work when there is a perceived threat.

a tactic more appropriate to soldiers on an actual battlefield. The mentality has no place on public streets, where it places “officer safety” above the duty to protect the innocent. This impression is reinforced when the officers and officials behind the raids are not held to account when things go tragically wrong.

Richard Diamond takes note of this growing paramilitarization in civil police forces at the Washington Times: Demilitarizing local police and provides examples of its consequences.

At one level, there is an effort to criminalize terrorism. On another, it is to make the police a military force. The issue is not simply one of ‘over there’ versus ‘my neighborhood.’ It is one of values. Does the agent of the state have more value than that of a citizen? Do we distinguish between citizens in their own environment and foreign nationals? Do the police, as agents of the state, deserve special privileges denied to citizens?

Would this case “Spur the needed adjustment in priorities away from the militarized attitudes and lack of accountability that fosters an “us versus them” divide between police and public. Such a change is needed for law enforcement to regain the trust and respect the profession once had in the community.” – or will it require yet another tragedy?

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