Why Militarized Police Departments Create Tension And Fear In Communities Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 5 Type: Essay Paper: #67212633 Related Topics: Community Policing, Police Organization, Community Leaders, Police Officer Published May 11, 2022
Excerpt from Essay :

Paramilitary Model of Modern Police

The paramilitary model of policing incorporates a kind of military-grade level of discipline into the ranks of the police so that they maintain better use of force at all times. The goal of this model is to help the officer be a more disciplined public servant who is self-possessed but fully equipped to restore order at times when public disturbances threaten to turn chaotic or violent (Potter, 2013). While the paramilitary model of policing certainly has its benefits, I believe that it also has some limitations, especially when it comes to the differences between police work and military work. It should be remembered soldiers are tasked with engaging an enemy while the police are tasked with serving and protecting the public. The militarization of the police can give communities the wrong impression that their communities are actually being occupied by a militarized police force rather than being served and protected by a police department that truly has their best interests at heart. This can seem the case especially when police departments begin purchasing military-tech directly from the military, which is no longer in need of it. A community policing model should, therefore, be implemented as well to help keep a police department balanced. The paramilitary model can give police the discipline they need, and the community policing model can give police the appropriate orientation they should have towards the community.

In the paramilitary model, the chain of command dictates that decisions are made in a hierarchical manner, just as they are in the military, so that officers take their orders from higher-ups at the top of the chain of command (Cruickshank, 2013). The purpose is to create a more regimented and discipline police department, but to ensure its success it means that the leaders of the department have to be very good at what they dofor in the paramilitary model of policing the department is only going to be as effective as the leaders at the top. If the leaders are well-qualified and effective, some of major benefits of this model are that officers will feel more united and aligned with one another and their leaders: everyone will be on the same page, which helps to give police officers the confidence they require to be able to do their work in the field most effectively. In this model, there is less emphasis on individualism and more emphasis on the mission, vision, values and principles of the police department. The model stipulates that officers represent in their own persons the values and principles of the department at all times and to such a degree that the officer knows full well that any violation of the ethical principles and standards of the department, whether on or off duty, will result in his termination. Every officer is made to believe firmly that his conduct has to be of a very high standard because he represents the department, the city, county or state that he is serving, his fellow officers and commanders, and the people he is tasked with protecting. The recognition of the responsibility and accountability that every officer owes to the department and to the…model can help to make a police organization more disciplined, united and confidentbut it has limitations and downsides as well that need to be addressed through the implementation of a separate model like community policing. The paramilitary model can utilize the bureaucratic nature of command by ensuring that all decisions are made at the top and that officers who implement these decisions in the field are made aware of them and how to implement them. It can create a unified spirit among the department in which every officer understands that he represents more than just himself when he goes into the community. It can help to reduce the risk of escalation when conflict arises and it can ensure that when force is required it is implemented correctly and effectively. At the same time, it can attract the wrong kind of character to the jobone who thinks being a police officer is like being a soldier abroad, just better because there is no need to board a plane and take up root in the Middle East. There is also less possibility for input from members of the community in the paramilitary model. Moreover, it can give the community the wrong impression about who they are with regards to the state: a militarized police department can come across like an occupying force, which never makes a community feel empowered but rather can lead to tensions. By mitigating these risks with the application of a community policing model, too, the police organization can better develop relationships with the community and bring community leaders into a position of…

Sources Used in Documents:


Cruickshank, D. (2013). Evaluating the paramilitary structure and morale. Retrievedfrom https://leb.fbi.gov/articles/perspective/perspective-evaluating-the-paramilitary-structure-and-moraleFriedersdorf, C. (2017). Footage of police shooting that jurors chose not to punish.

Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/footage-of-a-police-killing-that-jurors-didnt-punish/547868/

Greene, J. R. (2000). Community policing in America: Changing the nature, structure,and function of the police. Criminal justice, 3(3), 299-370.

Potter, G. (2013). The organization of policing. Retrieved from


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