Police Militarization Watch (Part 1 of ???)

If you have the displeasure of reading POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine,[1] you’ll find that Editor David Griffith’s The Peter Principle is a pointless, empty article which exists for no particular reason other than filling space. (The central thesis is When an officer is promoted it should be based on merit and leadership; he also bravely comes out against promoting cops solely on the basis of political cronyism. Well, O.K.). I mention it here because it is so ordinary, and what people treat as obvious and banal can be interestingly revealing. In this particular article, the one thing that Griffith does get really excited about, along the way, is a long discussion of the comparative merits of Army generals who ordered a lot of men to kill each other during the American Civil War. After discussing this burning issue, the upshot we are offered is that Even good leaders make terrible mistakes and, more importantly, nothing is more dangerous to a warrior — whether he is a 19th century infantryman or she is a 21st century patrol officer — than a bad leader. We are then told that That’s why it’s critical that only the best warriors get promoted up the ranks in law enforcement. … A promotion should only be given when an officer demonstrates effective leadership and is capable of commanding others in a crisis.

Maybe so. Meanwhile, nothing is more dangerous to ordinary people than heavily-armed twitchy police who think of themselves as warriors, and their patrols of the streets as an occupation of hostile territory.

See also:

  1. [1] Trust me, don’t bother—I read it so you don’t have to.

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