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Militarizing American Police: The Rise and Normalization of Paramilitary Units

Peter B. Kraska and Victor E. Kappeler
Social Problems
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 1-18
DOI: 10.2307/3096870
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3096870
Page Count: 18
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Militarizing American Police: The Rise and Normalization of Paramilitary Units
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Abstract

This paper examines overlooked developments in contemporary policing: the growth in the number of, and a significant shift in the character of, United States police paramilitary units (PPUs). A survey of all police departments serving cities of 50,000 people or more provides the first comprehensive national data on PPUs. Findings document a rise in the number of PPUs, an escalation in their level of activity, a normalization of these units into mainstream policing, and a direct link between PPUs and the U.S. military. These findings reflect the aggressive turn many law enforcement agencies are assuming behind the rhetoric of community and problem-oriented policing reforms.

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