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Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces | [Radley Balko]

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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  •  
    Christopher lena, IL, United States 08-25-13
    Christopher lena, IL, United States 08-25-13 Member Since 2011

    26, in the Army. I'll read just about anything

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Scarier than any horror book. Because it's true!"
    What made the experience of listening to Rise of the Warrior Cop the most enjoyable?

    The information given. I researched a lot of it after the fact. All true.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Rise of the Warrior Cop?

    The feeling of dread that I had in realizing that it's only going to get worse and that our country is screwed.


    What about William Hughes’s performance did you like?

    He was extremely good. But that being said it's a work of non fiction and mostly all he has to really do spit out facts.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I wouldn't say an extreme reaction.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm listening to this for a second time just to hear all the facts again. If you listen to this book and DON'T get an overwhelming feeling of dread once you realize what road this country has been heading down for over 50 years then you need to get checked into an mental home.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 11-16-13
    Ray Glendale, AZ, United States 11-16-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Must Read"

    It's a great book and a very necessary addition to anyone's library who is sincerely interested in liberty and the path that America is currently on.

    If one is sincerely concerned about the size of our government, then it stands to reason that they should be equally concerned about the militarization of that government's arm of enforcement. Likewise, if one is genuinely worried about expanding the rights of every citizen and every lifestyle, shouldn't they be just as worried about a militarized police force that is already being used to subjectively oppress those rights.

    This book is not about Left wing or Right wing, but about what is already happening to America and the individual rights that our freedom rests upon.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan OAKLAND, CA, United States 09-22-13
    Nathan OAKLAND, CA, United States 09-22-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Right On The Drug Money"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Everyone should understand how and why the nation's police are militarized.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The facts. All of them.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The content of the book, because this book is so well researched, written, and narrated, should upset everyone.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is excellent. The only thing I would have added is a much more clear and obvious thesis at the start and end of every chapter. Only because there is a lot of information and some of the details are so disturbing that the actual points that some of the stories are trying to illustrate become background or lost from the reaction one is likely to have from hearing the story. Statistics about unconstitutional SWAT raids followed by stories of SWAT raids resulting in deaths of completely innocent people followed by more statistics and stories, some of the finer points, and sometimes the chapters' central thesis, end up overlooked.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven 12-05-13
    Steven 12-05-13
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    "SWAT teams not always your friends..."
    If you could sum up Rise of the Warrior Cop in three words, what would they be?

    Police state overreach.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 08-17-13
    aaron los angeles, CA, United States 08-17-13 Member Since 2013

    Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Every Patriotic American Should Read This!"

    This book absolutely blew me away. It details the evolution of how today's "bullies with badges" came to be. Let's face it, cops are not liked by a vast majority of citizens in this country, and for VERY good reason. A high percentage of cops suffer from "little penis syndrome" (they feel the need to pick on those whom they deem weaker, in order to build themselves up in their own head), have an ax to grind with one or more segments of the population (i.e. they're racist, anti-women, anti-homeless), and/or they're just outright PSYCHOPATHS. This book does a fine job of detailing this behavior in a historical context, while integrating various political motivations.

    What it only briefly touches on, however, is how to fix the system. Psychological evaluations by INDEPENDENT EXPERTS (not inter-department shills) once a week for EVERY cop on the force is a good place to start. Every cop should also be equipped with "Google Glass" type cameras that record every move, for months BEFORE they're given their badge and gun (as well as 24/7 after they become armed). Review boards of unbiased citizens, with ZERO LINK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT, should be the ones looking over the complaints received from the public, NOT internal affairs (who are just cops, themselves!!). It sickened me to learn that around only 1% of all public complaints against LAPD cops are ever truly taken seriously. That department takes "corruption" to levels that even Al Capone would be proud of.

    Further, the book makes a compelling case as to why cops deserve to be punished MUCH harsher than the average citizen, if they break certain laws. Cops are given an ENORMOUS amount of power and trust in our society. They are the only armed people, roaming amongst the unarmed sheep, for 99.9% of the calls they respond to. So, if they break the public's trust, they should be severely punished, right? 60 years for each instance of officer misconduct, even for small offense, would be fine with me.

    The book makes the iron-clad assertion that cops in this country need to be reigned in. I agree there are some very good cops out there... some heroes, even. But, most of the ones I've seen are power-hungry psychopaths, looking to exact vengeance on a society that never truly appreciated the magnificent "gifts" they brought to the table. There is very little, if any, oversight, when it comes to monitoring their interactions with the public. We've given them their power, and as a society we must control this monster before it's too late. Today's LAPD, for example, is becoming more and more like the Nazi Gestapo with each day that goes by. Is a Nazi-like America really what we ultimately want for our grandchildren? I think not.

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian Schade Roskilde, Denmark 08-23-13
    Christian Schade Roskilde, Denmark 08-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "SCARY but sober view of US as police state"
    Where does Rise of the Warrior Cop rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the most insightful descriptions of the developement of policing in the West, and particularly the US


    What did you like best about this story?

    Exposure of a constitutional outrage with no outcry


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Calgary, AB, Canada 12-08-13
    Dan Calgary, AB, Canada 12-08-13 Member Since 2009
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    "A One-Sided Anti-Police Rant"
    Would you try another book from Radley Balko and/or William Hughes?

    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.


    7 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyle Garwood 05-25-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Terrible"

    The author says it's not an anti-cop book but it couldn't be further from the truth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 02-20-15
    Scott 02-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Informative!"

    It maybe a bit one sided at times, however on a topic such as this, one may not be able to overstate its importance. Rise of the warrior cop gives the reader an idea of how Marshall American police have become over time, and how heavy handed tactics used by law enforcement may be detrimental to a free society.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Henderson, NV, USA 01-17-15
    Daniel Henderson, NV, USA 01-17-15
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    "Well written, but extremely naïve."
    What would have made Rise of the Warrior Cop better?

    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.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 19 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • cduck
    london, United Kingdom
    3/15/14
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    "Jaw dropping"

    This is an extraordinary journey from the beginnings of modern policing in America, right up to present day military style raids to enforce breaches of barbering licenses !

    Unless you are already well versed in this area, it is likely that you will find he contents of this audiobook absolutely incredible . I know that I did !

    I can't say if it's a balanced account of modern police tactics in the U.S but there are lots of facts and figures to back up the general impression created of gung-ho cops , kicking down doors - often the wrong doors . And a system which offers almost no protection to the average citizen . Having said that, it is not an anti police book by any means . If anything , it is pointing the finger at an administration which manipulates the law and those that uphold it for purely political ends.

    It is superbly written and read. At times it made me reel with the injustice of what i was hearing and other times, made me laugh out loud at the disproportionate and ridiculous police handling of often trifling maters .

    All in all then, I have had an absolutely fantastic listening experience and can't rate this book highly enough !


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wood Smoke
    Coventry, United Kingdom
    12/21/14
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    "My jaw just kept on dropping!"
    If you could sum up Rise of the Warrior Cop in three words, what would they be?

    Reality Hand Grenade! What this book and the title infers is 'America's' militarization of their Police Forces, yet after reading this book my eyes were opened to a new reality; the 'Global' Militarization of Police Forces. We all want to feel safe in our homes, but when you are more likely to be assaulted by Police rather than criminals, then we have a problem.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book is not an attack on the Police, it was in fact a warning to all, that Governments and Big Business are transforming our Police Forces into a Praetorian Guard to protect their own interests against the 'Plebeians'.....We the law abiding who at any time can find ourselves on the wrong side of the law.


    What does William Hughes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    A great narrative, interesting and clear. I sometimes find myself turned off by the readings of audible books, but in this case I felt as though I was listening to a trusted old friend passionate about the subject matter and keen on capturing my attention.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Flash....Bang! You may be innocent, but we still may take your life!


    Any additional comments?

    Essential reading, don't let the title put you off. This is not a book supporting crazy conspiracy theory agendas. On the contrary it informs us all of the Civil Liberties we are losing and those that we have already lost. The 'Castle Doctrine' lies in pieces on the floor along with the broken shards of your front door and your shot to death pet dog.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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