The American approach to law enforcement was forged by the experience of revolution. Emerging as they did from the shadow of British rule, the country's founders would likely have viewed police as they exist today as a standing army and therefore a threat to liberty. Even so, excessive force and disregard for the Bill of Rights have become epidemic in America today.
According to civil liberties reporter Radley Balko, these are all symptoms of a generation-long shift to increasingly aggressive, militaristic, and arguably unconstitutional policing - one that would have shocked the conscience ofAmerica’s founders.
Rise of the Warrior Cop traces the arc of US law enforcement from the constables and private justice of colonial times to present-day SWAT teams and riot cops. Today relentless "war on drugs" and "war on terror" pronouncements from politicians, along with battle-clad police forces with tanks and machine guns, have dangerously blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. Balko's fascinating, frightening narrative shows how martial rhetoric and reactionary policies have put modern law enforcement on a collision course with the values of a free society.
©2013 Radley Balko (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Offering perspective on the situation in law enforcement in the States, this book should be a wake-up call to American citizens and a warning to the rest of the democratic world.
Every high school student should be required to read this book. If more states legalize weed maybe some of this madness will end.
The history of SWAT is interesting but the analysis is annoyingly shallow. Mostly a recounting of dozens of cases of police abuse and a lot of shocked indignation.
One of the most insightful descriptions of the developement of policing in the West, and particularly the US
Exposure of a constitutional outrage with no outcry
Setting the books obvious political bias aside, it gives a chilling overview of how policing has become a battlefield discipline rather than a bulwark of the community.
Radley Balko is a good writer, and this book is very well put together. However, there are a great many problems I have with this book, unfortunately I have no answers to fix them.
Chief among them is that Radley is an author, not a cop. He takes anecdotal stories, unverified accounts, dubious and out of context statistics, and stuff that (if true) any cop would tell you is stupid police work, and paints them as the norm. It's simply not the way it is. If you're not a cop you'll have no context in-which to judge his statements. After all, it is a compelling story. If I wrote a book about the news industry, all the research in the world wouldn't get me the in-sights that Balko has. All the stats, research, and talking to old cops in the world doesn't even begin to come close to the realities of the streets.
I've worked in the field for many years and spent a good amount of time training through out the country. 80% (that's not exactly a scientific number) is absurd or out of context. He put a lot of work into this, but it's painting a picture of law enforcement from a person that apparently has never spent a day as a cop. He's never spent time doing the thing he's criticizing, so how accurate can it truly be?
I'd like to introduce Radley to the concept of the "Availability Heuristic." Simply because you remember an report of a "botched" warrant, video of excessive force, or any other problem law enforcement officer, doesn't mean it is a prevalent as we think.
Balko's book is extremely misleading and is somewhat of a bible to the police militarization crowd. He may not be anti-police, but he is very much a "hater." The only way to counter this is to write a book, about all the fallacies that he writes about in this book.
If you're on the fence, this book is very in-accurate and one-sided, but well written. Unfortunately there is no one to explain the other side of the argument.
If you're in the anti-cop or police militarization crowd, this has to be an awesome book.
If you're a cop or law enforcement professional, you'd be remiss in not reading the depth of mis-characterization and damage that a well spoken, well respected but off-base author can do.
Balko opens the book by saying that he is not anti-police. He then spends the next 13 hours painting American law enforcement as knuckle-dragging, power-tripping, buffoons. He does this by using out-of-context statistics along with highly opinionated, one-sided, accounts of police negligence, misconduct and brutality.
I'm a Canadian police officer and I actually agree with almost all of Balko's recommendations at the end of the book. Getting to end without shutting it off was the tough part. The first portion of the book is a painfully dry, historical account of US state and federal politics as they pertain to drug laws and no-knock entries. Balko then moves into story after tragic story of bumbling, bloodthirsty cops conducting raids on the homes of innocent people and how it destroyed their lives.
There are many things that American police can and should be doing better. However, this message was completely lost in the delivery.
Police state overreach.
This is a book that is very provocative. If you are a big fan of civil rights and the Bill of Rights, this book is sure to get your blood on boil. This is the kind of reading that should be nearly mandatory at some point in the education of our kids. There is a problem with the police profiting from drug enforcement...this is big business on the highest order. A great book. Starts off a little slow with history and references, but builds to a much more interesting pitch in the latter 75% of the book. Very much enjoyed.
The author states the book is not a "bash on the police" book. So, I was really looking to hear some great relevant information. Nope, just a biased one-sided perspective of how bad cops got because of political scare tactics and power hungry police officers.
The worst part is, he attempts to over qualifies himself so as to appeal to those who would otherwise see right through his BS. Typical educated liberal fool perverting the true to impose his agenda.
Sound. Actually did pretty good too. I'd listen to him again.
The entire book.
Don't waste your time. Don't get me wrong. Cops aren't infallible. However, I was hoping to receive a balanced perspective of the issues plaguing society and law enforcement. I was trying to gain intelligent insight, not an anti-law enforcement, make all drugs legal campaign. Radley, you've lost credibility amongst me and those I intend on sharing my opinion with. Ta ta!
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