*The Rise of the Warrior Cop*: Encore Interview with Radley Balko

In tomorrow's encore episode, we will replay Bob's October 2013 interview with Radley Balko, author of, *The Rise of the Warrior Cop*. Balko's prescient work on the militarization of the police has taken on new meaning in the wake of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri.  A topic that was once the concern of only a handful of civil libertarians has become the subject of national debate. Who could have predicted this turn of events? Don't say we didn't warn you!

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In 1878 the Posse Comitatus Act ended the use of the US Military to enforce state laws. Our founders uniformly abhorred any concept of a federal police force since “police power” was vested in the states. However, since the 1980s, the tactics of the local police have come to resemble those of the military. Armored personnel carriers, heavy duty attack weapons, tanks and military hardware are being used for ordinary police tasks such as the enforcement of warrants and simple arrests. The very appearance of our cops is identical to army troops. How did this happen, where is it going and what does it tell us about life in America? No one knows this better than Radley Balko, author of “The Rise of the Warrior Cop.” Radley explains how the mission of our local police has changed from our protectors to our adversaries. This show won’t make you happy but it will inform you.


Alice Goffman on Fugitive Life in an American City

Alice Goffman is no Ivory Tower academic. The author of a harrowing new field study, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, Goffman spent the better part of a decade immersing herself in a crime-ridden neighborhood in Philadelphia. Once established, she began to study people’s lives in light of certain trends in law enforcement that are shattering communities with deep existing fractures. New quotas for certain kinds of arrests, combined with increasingly efficient methods of policing the drug war, have set the stage for a real-life drama that rivals Shakespeare's darkest tragedies. While this struggle unfolds outside the view of most Americans, the conflicts and social ills being amplified by the modern criminal justice system should be of concern to everyone. Family members are turned against one another; children view arrest and detention as a rite of passage; and market forces show up in strange places as entrepreneurial energy is channeled into running from the law. Bob gets the inside scoop on Goffman's breathtaking research, as the two discuss the causes and consequences of institutionalized poverty.

Organized Crime Wears A Badge

Welcome to America, where federal law enforcement rewards local police departments for ignoring the issues such as assault, robbery, murder and public safety in general. The government’s efforts would be better spent on the causes Washington considers important, such as drug enforcement, illegal immigration and “terrorism.” By taking advantage of civil asset forfeiture, local law enforcement agents are permitted (if not encouraged) to confiscate personal property without proving that the owner committed or intended to commit any crime. Cops are getting filthy rich in the process… and its legal! Sarah Stillman has written an expose entitled “Taken” which was recently published in the New Yorker and in this episode, she joins Bob to explain the role reversal of cops becoming robbers. Don’t miss it.

Posse Comitatus – Repealed but Not Gone

In 1878 the Posse Comitatus Act ended the use of the US Military to enforce state laws. Our founders uniformly abhorred any concept of a federal police force since “police power” was vested in the states. However, since the 1980s, the tactics of the local police have come to resemble those of the military. Armored personnel carriers, heavy duty attack weapons, tanks and military hardware are being used for ordinary police tasks such as the enforcement of warrants and simple arrests. The very appearance of our cops is identical to army troops. How did this happen, where is it going and what does it tell us about life in America? No one knows this better than Radley Balko, author of “The Rise of the Warrior Cop.” Radley explains how the mission of our local police has changed from our protectors to our adversaries. This show won’t make you happy but it will inform you.

Are We All Felons?

This Sunday, Bob will interview author Harvey Silverglate on the topic of his newest book “Three Felonies A Day.  How The Feds Target The Innocent.”   The book argues that Americans unknowingly commit crimes on a daily basis because federal criminal law is so vague. In fact, anyone can be indicted at any time for almost anything.  The expansion of federal criminal law weakens the role of the states and destroys the basic principles of federalism our founders so dearly cherished.