The Warrior Cop Mindset
Somewhere along the timeline to the present day, the warrior mentality inherent in the monikers has taken root in the psyche of America’s cops. It is not confined to street cops, either. It flows upward through command ranks, sometimes all the way to treetop levels, where decisions are made to foot the bill for additional training that turns average police officers into “warrior cops.”
Far from being the licensed peace officers they were originally commissioned to be, they are more soldier than police officer today, more suited to the war-torn streets of Afghanistan than Anytown, U.S.A.
There are over 18,000 law enforcement entities in the U.S. According to the nonprofit newsroom The Trace, a sampling of the companies offering them “warrior mentality” types of confrontational training include: (1) Blue Shield Tactical Training (specializing in tactical knife fighting), (2) Bulletproof Warrior (trains Minneapolis cops), (3) Dolan Consulting Group (teaches ways to use force to avoid “false evidence of racial disparities”), (4) Dynamic Solutions Training Group, (5) Government Training Institute, (6) Precision Rifle Workshop (sniper training), (7) Real World Tactical, (8) Security Systems International (among curriculum is a class called “Radical Islam,” teaching “how the cultural seeds of Radical Islam are inherent in the historical development” of that faith), and (9) Triple I Solutions (narcotics enforcement and how “to shake down areas normally considered ‘taboo’ to search.”).
In addition, courses in spin doctoring are offered by training companies such as Cop PRotect in California, PolicePR (specializes in “unconventional law enforcement public relations” and will, if requested, actively assist a besieged police department with “damage control”), and Arizona’s Police Social Media (teaches police departments the use of “Guerrilla Tactics to fight lies, rumors & false narratives”).
Tuition for these training courses range from $300 to $1,200, according to The Trace. Some cops pay these fees themselves, but more often than not, police departments foot the bill from their yearly budgets. Some warrior cop training schools like the Government Training Institute accept items from civil asset forfeitures as a form of payment. The federal government also has grant funding available for departments to pay for their cops to attend these schools.
It does not help the growing warrior cop mindset that the federal government sells surplus military equipment on the cheap to police departments or even provides for free through grants. Much of this hardware goes to SWAT-type units that have been used disproportionately in communities of color. CLN reported (February 2019, p.21) that public support for militarized police departments is rapidly ebbing as they fail to improve public safety. This is particularly true in Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, according to a recent study by the American Civil Liberties Union.
These courses prepare cops for potential violence. In a recent Harvard Law Review article, former cop and current law school professor Seth Stoughton wrote that attendees “are taught that they live in an intensely hostile world. A world that is, quite literally, gunning for them. Death, they are told, is constantly a single, small misstep away.”
There is an irreconcilable dichotomy between peace officers and warriors. If a cop aspires to be a warrior, his or her place is in a military organization, not a civilian police department.