My brother is a cop in a mid-sized city in the midwest, and he has been on the force for almost 25 years. Once upon a time, the force was made up mostly of people without military backgrounds. Today the reverse is true. My brother tells me that now nearly everyone on his police force is a military veteran. Most were NOT MPs, but mostly infantry or other combat troops. This is due to the fact that entrance exams to the police academy allow veterans, no matter what job they did in the military (even mess cook), to score 10 to 25% lower than those who have no military service and still qualify.
Combine this with the change in training with its emphasis on viewing citizens as threats and the money that police departments are given through the homeland security department and the confiscations reaped due to the “war on drugs” (which, he tells me, we are losing – Badly) which they may spend only on weapons and military-style training, and what you get is what we have now – a police force which has forgotten that they are supposed to be peace officers, and that the citizenry they are supposed to serve and protect (even the criminals) are not enemy combatants.
My brother has used his gun exactly once since he became a cop, and it was to put a dog that had been mangled in a staged fight out of its misery. He has numerous commendations in his file from the people who live in the neighborhood he patrols because he actually views his job, in one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods, as one of service to the community. He doesn’t view the residents as enemies and they don’t view him as a threat. We need to ditch the military emphasis that has insinuated itself into our local policing and go back to the community service model of law enforcement. It works.