Paramilitary Policing and its History Rashad Cudjoe Research Paper 1 Police Paramilitary Units (PPUs) were first created in the 1960s because of problems in urban areas. These 10-40 units were supposed to be used for handling civil disturbances, dangerous suspects, and snipers. The roles of these units have changed drastically in the last 10 years. Paramilitary police teams seem to allow some officers to live out a fantasy of policing being dangerous and exciting. Many officers commented on how handling military weapons gave them a rush of pleasure.
Civilizations as early the Egyptians may have had a paramilitary force to protect its rulers and high society residents. The term paramilitary refers to a force whose function and organization are similar to the military. The Romans also had their own specialized force to protect them also. During the 18thcentury there was a time of social unrest and economic changes in England. The constables and the “watch system” could not do the jobs needed to combat that these changes.
This led to the formation of the formal police force and eventually to the London Metropolitan Police, the first modern force that became a model for the police forces in other countries, including the United States. Policing in the United States begins with British policing. The Boston Police Department, considered the first modern U. S. police force, was founded in 1839 and the New York City Police Department was founded in 1845. Early Police departments did their jobs but they were not very professional. Police work was catered more to social work.
There was barely and discipline and police aimed to regulate problems rather than to prevent crime. The early forces cared about the community and were connected strongly with them. Crimes were often solved just by conversing with the public. The connection between this style of policing and the military is how it plays off of each other. The structure of U. S. ranks is based off of the ranks of the British military. Throughout history the military and the police have shared power and organizations have evolved out of the military.
Many paramilitary groups promote and engage in violence in an effort to force societal or governmental change. There are violent and or aggressive paramilitary groups that are Islamic, African, East Asian, European, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Southeast Asian. “The most prominent of all military organizations was that of the Roman Empire. They had a very effective and brutal form of law enforcement that they utilized to maintain peace and order. It was the Romans who introduced the infamous symbol of the crucifix.
The Romans never really had an actual police organization. It was only in the fifth century that clan chiefs and heads of state were tasked to police the people under their care. (Annely, 2006)” A Roman soldier’s weapons were a short sword for stabbing, and a throwing spear. The size of the army in the late Roman Empire was about 150,000 men. The paramilitary in Columbia is very different than paramilitaries that you would hear about in books and journals. Paramilitary organizations have been used in Colombia during the past 40 years.
These paramilitary organizations have evolved considerably since the 1960s. Political leaders, cattle ranchers, and peasants tired of guerrilla abuses helped organize paramilitary groups. This began of the dirty war in Colombia, where paramilitary groups linked to drug cartels, worked closely with Colombian military officers to eliminate suspected guerrilla sympathizers, while at the same time they attacked Colombian authorities investigating drug trafficking and paramilitary activity.
Paramilitary groups were involved in assassinations of police officers and judges. Paramilitary violence continued in many regions during the early 1990s. Paramilitary groups are deeply involved in drug trafficking. “Paramilitary groups grew in part because of the counterinsurgency strategy the Colombian military adopted to combat mushrooming guerrilla groups and their perceived civilian supporters. Spurred by frustration with a closed political system, there was a proliferation of leftist guerrilla movements within Colombian the 1970s” (Tate, 2001).
Paramilitary groups are responsible for more than eighty percent of political violence. These attacks have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. The violence has spilled over Colombia’s borders and threatens neighboring countries. “Owing to its military nature, paramilitary policing has unavoidably been the favorite style of operating. The most visible symbol of this policing style is a strong tendency to deploy paramilitary police to the crime scene.
This elite paramilitary police corps, is supposed to be deployed for some specific situations such as handling riots, freeing hostages, guarding important sites, securing very important persons or managing bomb threats” (Meliala, 2001). Even though it seemed like the paramilitary force in Indonesia was good, it had many negatives. It is hard to accept this style because three major problems exist. There were many weaknesses as law enforcers; the quality of their policing was poor, and their unhealthy relationships with the public caused controversy.
Paramilitary policing has made a huge increase in the United States “In 1981 Congress passed the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Officials Act. The law amended the Posse Comitatus Act insofar as it authorized the military to “assist” civilian police in the enforcement of drug laws. The act encouraged the military to (a) make available equipment, military bases, and research facilities to federal, state, and local police; (b) train and advise civilian police on the use of the equipment; and (c) assist law enforcement personnel in keeping drugs from entering the country.
The act also authorized the military to share information acquired during military operations with civilian law enforcement agencies” (Weber, 1996). Not only is the military involved in law enforcement but police departments are copying the tactics of the armed forces. Be so close with the military, SWAT units have started to take on the mentality of a warrior. They resemble combat units, with a commander, a team leader, scout, and marksmen. SWAT teams are also considered elite units.
Taking the civilian into consideration, the militaristic mindset is not appropriate for civilian or civilian officers in having to enforce the law. A soldier on the battlefield confronts an enemy and is taught to use lethal force, regardless of certain factors. The officer doesn’t have to deal with an enemy but to people exactly like him that have to deal with the nations laws. The militarization of law enforcement in America is a problem. Bibliography