Militarization Of Urban Police Forces As A Social Problem

Assignment Instructions

Is the Militarization of Urban Police forces a social problem?  Analyze this question using the textbook “Social Problems” 13th Edition concept of a social problem. Define the system Blame approach to social problems, and explain why this approach would not be a good solution. Define the person blame approach and explain why some people would support this approach as a solution to such a social problem . What would be the consequences of both approaches? Based upon your knowledge of the Michael Brown incident and any other such incidences, create what you believe would be a good definition of the Militarization of Police process..

Side Note:

Professional analysts have said the action of militarization of urban police forces does not carry any benefits in domestic policing situations like Ferguson. The Counterpoint is the belief police forces have no other option than to demonstrate the strongest show of force possible against the protesters in order to protect and restore social order within the community..

Militarization Of Urban Police Forces As A Social Problem – Sample Solution

The militarization of police is the revolutionizing of law enforcement departments so that police officers can use military tactics and equipment. Such equipment includes the use of assault rifles, flash-bag grenades, armored personnel carriers and submachine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams (Balko, 2013). According to descriptions in criminal justice studies, the militarization of law enforcement units leads to civilian police patterning themselves around the tenets of the military model.

Read also Principles of Police Organization, Administration And Service

Observers have taken note of the increasing militarization of policing of protests in the previous years. Ever since the 1970s, riot police squads have fired at protestors using guns with plastic bullets. Also, tears gas, developed in 1919, has widely been used against protestors especially in the 2000s. The use of tear gas is prohibited by various international treaties which many countries have signed yet its use in law enforcement for non-combat situations is permitted (Wood, 2014). Due to this, there have been rising concerns on the militarization of the police on by both ends of the political continuum. Various groups continue to voice their criticisms of the practice as police departments speak in favor of the militarization.

A case in the point of the militarization of police departments as a concern is the shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri. According to commentators, many Americans who watched the rigorous aftermath unfold met head on with pictures of what could have been similar to a war zone. Police garbed in military gear and pointed assault rifles to citizens. It has since reinvigorated a public debate on the differences between the police and the military. Many agree that such militarization represents a worrying mutation of police power from the usual peace-keeping role to another of pacification.

Read also Defining Police Ethics

In the past, primarily when the London Metropolitan Police was formed, police only carried a nightstick and were unarmed. Their authority was mainly expressed through their uniformed presence. In the US, police also took low-level weapons although guns were specifically used.  There was an enormous difference between the police and the military in terms of the weaponry. Nonetheless, the weapons that the police carry currently have been questioned due to their known use in the army as well.

As such, militarization has been regarded as a social problem. A social issue is defined as a condition in which some people in a community perceive as undesirable. It is agreeable that some situations such as murders and traffic deaths are social problems. Surprisingly, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri may as well as fall in this category. Other situations state of affairs brought about by the militarization of law enforcement department belong to this category and so, generally, the militarization of police is a social problem.

As a result, Citizens and civil activist groups continually blame the system and individuals who led to the initiation of the militarization of police departments. In these accusations, two approaches could be used to counter this social problem namely; System-Blame Approach and the Person-Blame Approach.

The system-blame approach is the postulation that social issues are the results of conditions around a person (Lindblom & Cohen, 1979). According to this system, it would be believed that the whole police department would be to blame. It could even mean that the department of defense is to blame for allowing police officers to acquire assault rifles and military equipment and tactics. In short, with this approach, the social militarization problem would never lead to a particular person taking the culpability, and this means that we cannot find a specific solution to the problem. Instead, would only end up consuming more time finding the person to take the responsibility.

On the other hand, the person-blame approach would rest on the assumption that the social problem could have resulted from the pathologies of individuals (Truzzi & Springer, 1976). In this manner, there would be no blames for the whole system. As an alternative, particular individuals who were starting place of the problem would have to be pinpointed. For example, the leaders of law enforcement could be held accountable since they were the absolute controllers and regulators of policing. Initially, they had the choice of choosing among different choices of countering riots and insecurity while at the same time minding about civilians. the second approach can, therefore, offer solutions to the nationwide trend of police militarization.

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