Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street

.....The paramilitary bureaucracy and the culture it engenders—a black-and-white world in which police unions serve above all to protect the brotherhood—is worse today than it was in the 1990s. Such agencies inevitably view protesters as the enemy. And young people, poor people and people of color will forever experience the institution as an abusive, militaristic force—not just during demonstrations but every day, in neighborhoods across the country.

Much of the problem is rooted in a rigid command-and-control hierarchy based on the military model. American police forces are beholden to archaic internal systems of authority whose rules emphasize bureaucratic regulations over conduct on the streets. An officer’s hair length, the shine on his shoes and the condition of his car are more important than whether he treats a burglary victim or a sex worker with dignity and respect. In the interest of “discipline,” too many police bosses treat their frontline officers as dependent children, which helps explain why many of them behave more like juvenile delinquents than mature, competent professionals. It also helps to explain why persistent, patterned misconduct, including racism, sexism, homophobia, brutality, perjury and corruption, do not go away, no matter how many blue-ribbon panels are commissioned or how much training is provided. More The Nation

Norm Stamper was chief of the Seattle Police Department during the WTO protests in 1999. He is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s ExposĂ© of the Dark Side of American Policing (Nation Books).

From the comments section, and a man that mirrors my philosophy.

Most cops are fascists. That’s just a noted fact. The first thing that must be done is to change the recruitment and training of new police. All departments have candidates take a psychological test. They must use new tests to weed out the aggressive personalities which now dominate virtually all police departments at the local, county, state and federal levels. More weight must be added to candidates with strong reasoning, verbal communication and analytical skills, as well as a demonstrable moral core. Most cops have been militarized, as the article state. And, most are in for the duration - until they can retire and collect a pension. Therefore, they qualify as “Lifers”, just as in the military. You cannot de-militarize a lifer soldier.

Step one; recruit the right candidate. Step two; the switch from a paramilitary police force to a service police force must start from day one at the academy. Less emphasis on confrontation and combat ... more emphasis on psychology and communication. Step three; give cops meaningful work ... end the ridiculous “War On Drugs”. That redefines the officers’ relationship to the community. No longer is every person with their hand in their pocket a suspected drug user or dealer. Now the cops on the beat and in districts can meet the people face to face without the burden of the old, “Us against them” mentality.

It would be a start.

11. posted by: Big Dave at 11/11/2011