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Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 361 customer reviews

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Length: 402 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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The Black Presidency by Michael Eric Dyson
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more

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Editorial Reviews

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Praise for the author:
''Radley Balko is one of those throw-back journalists that understands the power of groundbreaking reporting and how to make a significant impact through his work. Time and time again, his stories cause readers to stop, think, and, most significantly, take action.'' --Judges' Statement, Los Angeles Press Club Awards Ceremony

About the Author

RADLEY BALKO is an award-winning investigative journalist who writes about civil liberties, police and prosecutors, and the broader criminal justice system. A senior writer and investigative reporter for the Huffington Post, he was formerly a senior editor for Reason magazine and a policy analyst for the Cato Institute. Balko's 2006 Cato report Overkill is considered the seminal work on the rise of SWAT teams and paramilitary police tactics in America.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1354 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Trade Paper Edition edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Publication Date: July 9, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B3M3UFQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,433 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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I am a staunch conservative, a veteran of the U.S. Military, and have worked in private sector for the past 32 years in the Risk Management department for a large U.S. based retailer. I work closely with law enforcement across multiple jurisdictions mostly in the area of Organized Retail Crime and have an inbred respect for all law enforcement. I purchased this book with some reservations as I figured that it would be nothing more than a left wing progressive cop bashing fest. I could not have been more wrong about this author's body of work or intentions.

The book is well researched, full of facts, and I found it surprisingly to be politically neutral! The author in fact goes out of his way to not blame law enforcement for the current trend in the militarization of their officers, or the proliferation of SWAT teams materializing all over the country. In fact he lays most of the blame for this right at the feet of our legislators. No one party is or branch of government is exempt. Numerous presidents, senators, members of the house, and Supreme Court Justices are all mentioned, and their roles in getting the Fourth Amendment nullified are presented in excruciating detail. This book highlights how the sacred rights of the Castle Doctrine and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 have all been circumnavigated. This is a must read for all Americans regardless of their political affiliation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As always, Balko is alternately infuriating and terrifying, as he details the slow, incremental evolution in our police forces. This is not a "Cops are bad" screed, but rather a "Cops are important and powerful, so we need to pay attention to how they're being trained, equipped and used" warning flare. Well-written by arguably the leading journalist expert on the subject and based on years of following the topic, this is a very powerful and important book that'll make you look at the next picture of a cop in "riot gear" with a different eye.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chances are somewhere in America today, a SWAT team will arrive at a private residence. They'll throw flash-bang grenades and kick in the door; they'll force occupants to the floor at gunpoint and start tearing the place apart. They're will be profanity and screaming. They may kill the family dog, pitbull or poodle. And if they don't find anything, or it turns out they came to the wrong address, too bad. You're not going to get an apology.

This is the state of policing in America in 2013, says Radley Balko in his new book "Rise of the Warrior Cop." Across the country, law enforcement is turning to SWAT team and other specalized units not for their original purpose of providing rapid response to hostage situations and standoffs, but to serve drug warrants, enforce regulatory issues, and quell political dissent. Police are rapidly accumulating military weapons, armored vehicles, military-style uniforms and an "us against them" attitude that has resulted in wrongful arrests, property damage, injuries, and even deaths.

While many people have become aware of the militarization of law enforcement since 2001, Balko shows this process began in earnest about 40 years ago, when Richard Nixon decided to exploit the white, middle-class Silent Majority's fears of increasing drug use and crime. The "drug war' and now the "war on terror" has led to a steady erosion of our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and the "Castle Doctrine," the idea that we are safe from government intrusion in our homes without serious cause.

Balko traces this history from the roots of the Castle Doctrine in British common law right up into the present day.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first day of my job as a police officer, I was confronted by a drugged out parolee who stuck a gun in my face. It never occurred to me to reach for the pistol on my hip. My partner, who took cover behind a tree, could have shot and killed the fellow at any time. He did not. I used my powers of persuasion to talk the parolee out of killing me. As far as I know he is still alive and kicking.

It was 1963 and the general police policy view was that if you shot someone, you'd better come back with a bullet in your body somewhere. Shooting someone who turned out to be unarmed would have gotten you fired or even prosecuted. You did not guess someone was armed, you had to know for sure.

Later, while attending the sheriff's academy in San Diego, I learned constitutional law as envisioned by police instructors there. The general theme was one of hostility to the courts and judges that were making decisions restricting an officer's discretion. I did not realize at the time I was not being taught constitutional law, but how to avoid complying with it. I ultimately became a probation officer, lawyer, and juvenile court referee. That education revealed the truth. As I look back on it all, I am of the opinion that police academies need to be reformed from the ground up. Shooting policies need to be completely changed. Killing someone because "he reached into his pants," is not only absurd, it demonstrates a complete lack of respect for the sanctity of life.

Did the drug war cause all of this? I think it has played a big role. As the money involved in drug transactions increased and the penalties for selling it went sky high, dealers began arming themselves to avoid arrest at all costs. But there are other factors at work as well.
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