Book Review: The Militarization of the Police? Ideology Versus Reality
Print Issue: April 2020
By George C. Klein. Cognella Academic Publishing; cognella.com; 284 pages; $78.95.
Professor George Klein is a fighter. In The Militarization of the Police? Ideology Versus Reality, the former police officer takes on the myth that police departments are building a militarized policing philosophy that will be used against the citizens they serve.
Some ideological factions argue that increased militarism—characterized by special weapons and tactics teams, armored vehicles, and civil disturbance equipment—leads to more police violence. Klein dismisses that viewpoint with allegation-by-allegation counter arguments in a logical and convincing manner using research and statistics. His approach provides public safety leaders, including those in the security industry, with the necessary ammunition to convince public officials and community representatives that citizen protection requires a broad tool kit.
Although the book is of primary interest to law enforcement managers, there are some sections that can be helpful to security professionals. Chapter 7, “The Trifecta: Race, Poverty, and Drugs,” provides well-researched data and analysis using Chicago as the example. For security managers, the community profile methodology can be helpful in developing more accurate contract bidding information, for example.
Chapters 8 and 9 provide good summaries of the recent Ferguson and Baltimore riots. Viewing the disturbances from a security perspective can assist in identifying what mitigative actions should be in place to protect businesses and employees. Additionally, the discussion may illuminate what assistance security leaders may provide law enforcement agencies before, during, and after civil disturbance events.
Klein goes on to review excessive use of force and nonviolent resolutions to potentially explosive situations. These directly relate to security officers, who are in constant contact with the public and should have training in crisis intervention, de-escalation, and dialogue negotiation management techniques.
This well-documented and persuasive book on professional law enforcement in a socially sensitive America is a good primer. For security professionals, The Militarization of the Police? is recommended for background knowledge to develop products, programs, and services to support law enforcement in today’s increasingly complex world.
Reviewer: James T. (Tom) Roberts, CPP, is president, Starboard Focus Continuity Planners. Previously he was chief security officer, U.S. Army Medical Command, and later a district U.S. Marshal. He has served on the ASIS Professional Certification Board, chaired the Law Enforcement Liaison and Healthcare Security Councils, and been a regional vice president and chapter chair.