Militarization of Police

More on Mayor Calvo

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Over the weekend, Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher wrote a terrific column on the botched drug raid on Berwyn Heights, Maryland Mayor Cheye Calvo.  Snippet:

Critics of no-knock raids say they not only result in too many errors, sometimes with tragic results, but undermine efforts at community policing, the building of trust and relationships that is critical to effective crime-fighting, such as Berwyn Heights' requirement that its officers go to every local youth ballgame, get out of the car and walk around chatting with people.

"Telling the people that these officers followed procedure and did nothing wrong sends a chilling message," Calvo says. "And then we wonder why people who live in high-crime areas don't trust the police. They treated us like animals. They were not there to protect and serve, they were there to search and destroy."

Calvo intends to seek stronger county oversight of SWAT deployments, and that would certainly help. But as long as we continue to glamorize the police when they take on the trappings of the military, more people will be shocked out of bed in the middle of the night, more dogs will be shot on sight, and we'll have ever more reason to wonder why the police are treated like enemy occupiers.

Fisher attended a Cato panel on no-knock raids that I spoke at last week.  After the event, I recorded a podcast for Cato, available here.  You can also now watch an archived video of the forum here.