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Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces Hardcover – July 9, 2013
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Sarah Stillman, NewYorker.com
A fascinating and at times wrenching new book.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
’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, alrightand scared.”
Ilya Somin, Volokh Conspiracy
The best new book on a law-related topic I have read so far this year”
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, 19942000
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.”
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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.
While the conclusion might be correct, that we are not in a police state, it's impossible to argue that we are not heading there and heading there fast. If nothing else, it is a great expose of what is happening and what awaits innocent American civilians in the future if the trend is not reversed. The book discusses "community policing," as well as other tactics to help improve the situation but concedes at several points that the harm is essentially irreversible. What has created an us vs them (people vs. police) culture that has ruined millions of lives is not something that can easily be forgiven and certainly should not be forgotten. These policies are good ideas, but the reality is, the police state is here. It's just that most of the victims are still the unwanted that the politicians who sought successfully to consolidate states' powers at the federal level want to get rid of. The irony is the complicity of so many Americans who don't realize they're next on the list.
Well before the end of the book, the Castle Doctrine (along with the Bill of Rights) is laid to rest, never to resurrect again or be of any actual significance. This is a book that every American citizen should read, especially those having leftover delusions of the Castle Doctrine and police forces that serve communities. While police are necessary, the military as police forces that are now patrolling the streets of even the smallest towns are neither properly equipped, trained, or ready to deal with either police or military matters, leaving innocent civilians to be caught in the crossfire increasingly aimed at them.
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A harsh eye opener. This should be required reading in every college in America. And pot should be legalized to stop the raids.