Rise of the Warrior Cop by Radley Balko
The Militarization of America's Police Forces

82%

5 Critic Reviews

Mr. Balko saves his prescriptions for reform until the last chapter. Two of his fixes, transparency and accountability, are good remedies for all governmental overreach.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

The last days of colonialism taught America’s revolutionaries that soldiers in the streets bring conflict and tyranny. As a result, our country has generally worked to keep the military out of law enforcement. But according to investigative reporter Radley Balko, over the last several decades, America’s cops have increasingly come to resemble ground troops. The consequences have been dire: the home is no longer a place of sanctuary, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted, and police today have been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as an other—an enemy.

Today’s armored-up policemen are a far cry from the constables of early America. The unrest of the 1960s brought about the invention of the SWAT unit—which in turn led to the debut of military tactics in the ranks of police officers. Nixon’s War on Drugs, Reagan’s War on Poverty, Clinton’s COPS program, the post–9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs.

In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians’ ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.
 

About Radley Balko

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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
 
Published July 9, 2013 by PublicAffairs. 402 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy, Crime, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Rise of the Warrior Cop
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 03 2013

The problem...is that we “tend not to take notice of such long-developing trends...The first and perhaps largest barrier to halting police militarization has probably been awareness.” After reading Balko, you’ll be aware, alright—and scared.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by BRUCE SCHNEIER on Aug 05 2013

Mr. Balko saves his prescriptions for reform until the last chapter. Two of his fixes, transparency and accountability, are good remedies for all governmental overreach.

Read Full Review of Rise of the Warrior Cop: The ... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Kirkus

Good
on Jun 25 2013

An important, sometimes-groundbreaking account of police gone wild.

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NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by David Rosman on Jul 09 2013

This book is highly recommended for the historic value of the information; it is clear, concise, and well argued.

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The Economist

Above average
on Jul 13 2013

Thanks to his book, Americans will be more aware of the costs of those methods. But they—and he—should also consider possible benefits.

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Alp Koksoy 5 Sep 2013

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