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Militarization and police violence: The case of the 1033 program

By Casey Delehanty, Jack Mewhirter, Ryan Welch, Jason Wilks & Campaign Zero

Study: Drawing from Kraska (2007), we argue that increasing LEA access to military equipment will lead to higher levels of aggregate LEA violence. The effect occurs because the equipment leads to a culture of militarization over four dimensions: material; cultural; organizational; and operational. As militarization seeps into their cultures, LEAs rely more on violence to solve problems. The mechanism mirrors psychology’s classic “Law of the Instrument,” whereby access to a certain tool increases the probability that the tool is used for problems when other tools may be more appropriate (Maslow, 1966), including access to weapons increasing violent responses (e.g. Anderson et al., 1998; Berkowitz and LePage, 1967).

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