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Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces Hardcover – July 9, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610392116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610392112
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of Gizmodo's Best Books of 2013

Sarah Stillman, NewYorker.com
“A fascinating and at times wrenching new book.”

The Economist
“Mr Balko manages to avoid the clichés of both right and left, and provokes genuine outrage at the misuse of state power in its most brutal and unaccountable form: heavily armed police raiding the homes of unarmed, non-violent suspects on the flimsiest of pretexts, and behaving more like an occupying army in hostile territory than guardians of public safety. “Rise of the Warrior Cop”, Mr Balko’s interesting first book, explains what policies led to the militarisation of America’s police. To his credit, he focuses his outrage not on the police themselves, but on politicians and the phoney, wasteful drug war they created.”

American Conservative
Rise of the Warrior Cop diagnoses a grave threat to our constitutional rights. If Americans still possess the wisdom of our Founders, we will heed Balko’s warning and turn back our drift towards a police state.”

Charleston (WV) Gazette
“For Americans who care about their core political liberties, Balko's book is a must-read.”

Pacific Standard
“Fascinating and sometimes terrifying”

"Jack Dunphy" (nom de plume of a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department), National Review Online
“For all my cop's quibbles with Rise of the Warrior Cop, I was struck by how much I found to agree with in the book. Balko makes a compelling case that in America today there are too many SWAT teams operating with too little accountability, further exposing the country to the dangers this magazine identified in 1996. ‘No, America today isn't a police state,’ he writes in the concluding chapter. ‘Far from it. But it would be foolish to wait until it becomes one to get concerned.’ One need not be a libertarian to appreciate the warning.”

Diane Goldstein, Huffington Post
“Rise of the Warrior Cop asks many questions about the proper role of law enforcement and the effect of the drug war, America's longest war, on our communities… Balko interweaves history, the Constitution, and case law to create an account of how the massive expansion of SWAT teams occurred as the perfect storm of politics, ideology and federal fiscal coercion.”

New York Journal of Books
“This historic review of America’s police and police tactics is clear and direct in its nondismissal narrative. This is not an anti-police book, but a serious look at the growth and use of SWAT and military style tactics, at America’s war on drugs, and the financial incentives that created the new “community police force”… This book is highly recommended for the historic value of the information; it is clear, concise, and well argued. Whether you are a lifetime, card carrying member of the ACLU or the newest law and order politician The Rise of the Warrior Cop provides a clear timeline and important information making it a must read.”

Publishers Weekly
“’Are cops constitutional?’ It’s a bold and provocative question, and the more Balko delves into the history of law enforcement, the more that question seems worth considering. … After reading Balko, you’ll be aware, alright—and scared.”

Ilya Somin, Volokh Conspiracy
“The best new book on a law-related topic I have read so far this year”

StoptheDrugWar.org
“In Balko’s hands, an entertaining and illuminating story — as well as depressing and frightening — told with verve and gusto, meticulously researched, and filled with telling historical detail… Rise of the Warrior Cop is an important book and deserves to be read by small government conservatives, civil libertarian liberals, police commanders, and politicians alike.”

Simple Justice blog
“It's critical to appreciate the history of policing, to understand that what we now see as normal and inescapable wasn't always the case. For most of our history, this country did not have a group of people with shields and guns who wandered the streets ordering people about.… If there is any hope of changing the course of the militarization of law enforcement, it will come from a greater understanding of why this was never meant to be the internal norm of this country, and that it doesn't have to be. Radley Balko has done an exceptional job of making the case. Every person who hopes to preserve the integrity of his Castle from dynamic entry needs to read The Rise of Warrior Cop.”

Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union
“Excessively militarized policing is easy to ignore when a SWAT team is ramming down someone else’s door or tear-gassing someone else’s protest. What makes Rise of the Warrior Cop so important is that Mr. Balko makes police militarization real for all of us. This is a meticulously researched history book that casts needed light on a central civil liberties issue.  Police militarization is something we should all care about, and Rise of the Warrior Cop will show you why.”

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief, Huffington Post
“With his thorough reporting and compelling storytelling gifts, Radley Balko builds a powerful narrative of the militarization of our police forces, which both liberals and conservatives have allowed to flourish. And he shows the chilling results of both parties’ unwillingness to stand up to increasingly aggressive police tactics that often pit cops against those they are sworn to protect.”

Ron Paul, former Texas congressman and Republican presidential candidate
Rise of the Warrior Cop is a comprehensive look at the reasons for, and the results of, the increasing militarization of law enforcement. Civil libertarians on the left and limited government conservatives on the right should pay especially close attention to Radley Balko’s examination of the link between the ‘the war on drugs’ and law enforcement’s increased use of police state tactics.”

Norm Stamper, thirty-four-year police veteran and police chief of Seattle, Washington, 1994–2000
“A rich, pertinent history, with unexpected but critically important observations of the increased militarization of American policing. And so well presented: clear, lucid, elegantly crafted.  Rise of the Warrior Cop should be on the shelves of every police chief, sheriff, and SWAT commander in the country. A huge contribution.”

Glenn Greenwald, constitutional lawyer, Guardian columnist, and New York Times-bestselling author
“Vibrant and compelling. There is no vital trend in American society more overlooked than the militarization of our domestic police forces, and there is no journalist in America who is more knowledgeable and passionate about this topic than Radley Balko. If you care about the core political liberties of Americans, this is a must-read.”

Peter Kraska, Chair and Professor, Police and Justice Studies, Eastern Kentucky University
“Balko excels at an excruciatingly difficult task:  telling the history of police militarization in a way that will grip any curious mind – without any loss of intellectual rigor. A fascinating, highly educational, and deeply disturbing read.”

About the Author

Radley Balko is an award-winning investigative journalist who writes about civil liberties, police, prosecutors, and the broader criminal justice system. He is currently a writer and investigative reporter for the Washington Post. Previously, he was a senior writer and investigative reporter for the Huffington Post, senior editor for Reason magazine, and a policy analyst for the Cato Institute. In 2011, the Los Angeles Press Club named him “Journalist of the Year.” Follow him on twitter: @RadleyBalko

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Customer Reviews

A very well written and researched book.
Terryn
In his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop, author Radley Balko provides a detailed history of our decline into a police state.
John J. Baeza
This book is a must read for anyone who has any interest in the criminal justice system.
Jacob M. Olson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

371 of 378 people found the following review helpful By John J. Baeza on July 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop, author Radley Balko provides a detailed history of our decline into a police state.

He works his way through this history in a sound way describing police raid upon police raid gone terribly wrong, resulting in a useless loss of life. He discusses police agencies that serve populations of only 1,000 people but receive federal funding for military-type weapons and tank-style vehicles. We have also seen a total disregard for "The Castle Doctrine" which has been held dear by our citizens since the colonial days. The "Castle Doctrine" is the idea that a man's home is his castle and a warrant signed by a judge is necessary to enter and search the "castle." Balko cogently explains the reason for all of this: The war on drugs and the war on terror are really wars on our own people.

A profession that I was once proud to serve in has become a militarized police state. Officers are quicker to draw their guns and use their tanks than to communicate with people to diffuse a situation. They love to use their toys and when they do, people die.

The days of the peace officer are long gone, replaced by the militarized police warrior wearing uniforms making them indistinguishable from military personnel. Once something is defined as a "war" everyone becomes a "warrior." Balko offers solutions ranging from ending the war on drugs, to halting mission creep so agencies such as the Department of Education and the FDA don't have their own SWAT teams, to enacting transparency requirements so that all raids are reported and statistics kept, to community policing, and finally to one of the toughest solutions: changing police culture.
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful By John Mozena on June 29, 2013
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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86 of 92 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For those of us who have followed Radley Balko on his old blog, 'The Agitator', and in his new position as Senior Writer and Investigative Reporter at The Huffington Post, this book is a culmination of some of his best writing.

The Rise of the Warrior Cop, was seen up close and personal in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Hundreds of police from all across New England converged in Watertown, Mass.,to hunt for the Marathon Bomber. The city under total lockdown, with these heavily armed policemen with all matter of armored vehicles racing down the streets, police knocking on doors, hunting in trash cans, gave the television viewer a sense of déjà vous. To the average citizen, we were OK with the police hunting down the criminals, giving up a twenty four hour period of our lives, to stay in doors under lockdown, while they went about their business. It wasn't until the guns started firing, cross fire between the police and the fugitives, bullets entering homes, breaking glass, with horrified citizens looking on. No, citizen was injured, which seems a miracle considering the amount of ammunition used. Is this the future of policing?

Radley Balko gives us the background of policing. The real militarization of the police. Once the wars wore down, the old and new equipment no longer needed by the military was given to the local police.. Large cities, New York, LA, benefitted first, then it spread out to the rest of the country. Drug raids now take place with armored transports, SWAT teams heavily armed, break into homes with wrong addresses, shooting dogs, harassing the citizenry, all done under the guise of good policing. Innocent people are dying, families split, and often no apology coming from the police.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Heather K. Michon on July 18, 2013
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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