From Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump every sitting president for the last 50 years, Republican or Democrat, has militarized America's police force. In Rise of the Warrior Cop author Radley Balko asks, "How did we evolve from a country whose founding statesmen were adamant about the dangers of armed, standing government forces—a country that enshrined the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights and revered and protected the age-old notion that the home is a place of privacy and sanctuary—to a country where it has become acceptable for armed government agents dressed in battle garb to storm private homes in the middle of the night, not to apprehend violent fugitives or thwart terrorist attacks but to enforce laws against nonviolent, consensual activities?"
For those wondering if the issue with policing is a couple of bad officers or if it is the system, 28-year law enforcement veteran Matthew Horace unequivocally paints a picture of a broken system in his memoir The Black and the Blue. Before critiquing the system, Horace unequivocally says he is a cop while also being unequivocally a black man. He has lived on both sides of a police gun.
From rising homelessness that the police are tasked to deal with to shootings of both minorities and police officers to endless mental health issues involving both police officers and the population American police are simply expected to do too much. Author Alex Vitale argues that the structure of American policing, and the U.S. legal system, protects the interests of those in power and/or with money and needs to be dismantled. Simply put, Americans need to rethink the mission of the police and how we police those within the borders of the United States.
Former gang member Victor Rios grew up in the ghetto of Oakland, California so he knows the realities of Black and Latino males growing up in the ghetto, but this is not his story. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys is based off of Rios Ph.D. thesis at Berkeley that he penned after spending three years following 40 Black and Latino males in Oakland.