Ferguson and the Militarization of America’s Police Forces


The shooting of Michael Brown by a member of the Ferguson, Missouri police department has focused attention on what has been described as the militarization of America’s police forces. Police departments throughout the country have received large quantities of military weaponry and armament. Attorney Stephen Johnsongrove discusses the phenomenon.

Stephen JohnsonGrove

Stephen JohnsonGrove

JohnsonGrove explains that there has been militarization in both the equipment and the mindset of police departments. That culture infects police departments with an animosity towards the people they are policing. A military occupation mindset tends to come about in the police departments.

JohnsonGrove notes that something similar to the Ferguson situation occurred in 2001 in Cincinnati, and in the end, positive changes occurred within the department. Among the changes, there was extensive revamping of the training of police officers. Changes in protocols have greatly improved the situation in Cincinnati.

Johnsongrove suggests that the increasingly military posture of police officers has produced confrontational attitudes on the part of the citizens who encounter these new police forces.

Stephen JohnsonGrove is the Deputy Director at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. He is a career social justice attorney with a focus on criminal justice reform. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.