Friday, August 15, 2014

Will Predictive Policing Make Militarized Police More Dangerous?

Police wearing riot gear try to disperse a crowd, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.   
As images of Ferguson, Missouri’s AR-15 totting police force made their way across the Internet this week, an ever-concerned public began to wonder who decided to give cops in an American city the sort of guns and gear that we provide to soldiers in the most dangerous places in the word?  We quickly discovered that the United States government did, under the so-called 1033 program, a program that allows the Defense Department to transfer military equipment to law enforcement (much to the delight, surely, of the companies that make that equipment.) 

Of course, to call the Ferguson police force “militaritized” is a misnomer. As Adam Weinstein points out at Gawker, gear alone does not a military member make—to wit: “Despite their expensive costuming, the police in Ferguson are putting on an unsophisticated, unscripted performance, a copy without an original. If these cops were to take a page out of the Army’s book on crowd control, it would be an improvement. But they seem to be making up tactics to go with the gear they’ve acquired.”

In terms of large nations that have, in fact, militarized their police forces, the model that we are now following looks Chinese in origin, a country that has been blurring the line between military and police for a long time. NATO and the Defense Department continuously point out that Chinese military funding and “public safety” funding overlap to large extent. A quick glance at Chinese spending on “internal” security versus formal “defense” reveals a country that views its citizens as a larger threat than any external foe.

For the rest of the story: http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/08/will-predictive-policing-make-militarized-police-more-dangerous/91559/?oref=d-topstory

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