Michael Brown

Former LAPD Deputy Chief Explains the Militarization of American Policing


LAPD Deputy Chief Stephen Downing (Ret.) writes:  It is sad that it took a police killing and the excessive deployment of a military presence by local law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri to focus national attention upon a problem that has been metastasizing within American law enforcement since the early 1970s.

The militarization of local law enforcement was seeded by the Nixon administration's declaration of the war on drugs in the early 1970s, and took root in the 1980s as result of President Reagan's escalation that poured millions into the drug war, shifting the focus of local law enforcement away from violent and property crimes to mostly small-time drug offenders.

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