America’s largest police agency, the California Highway Patrol, is now officially describing itself as a “paramilitary organization,” a revelation that will undoubtedly feed into concerns that the militarization of domestic law enforcement is intensifying.
The CHP’s adoption of this term is now so prevalent that the organization is openly using it as a recruiting tool for new employees.
A post entitled Is This Job for You? which appears on the CHP.gov website asks all new applicants for the role of CHP Cadet, “Are you willing to work in a para-military organization, operating under a structured chain-of-command?”
An information page on the website entitled Life at the Academy also states, “The California Highway Patrol is often described as a “paramilitary” department, and that is true. The uniforms, ranks and insignias, chain of command, and the long-standing traditions resemble a military organization.”
According to dictionary.com, the word “paramilitary” is defined as, “noting or pertaining to an organization operating as, in place of, or as a supplement to a regular military force.”
Another section of the website devoted to enticing former military personnel to become CHP officers also states, “The CHP offers military personnel a unique working environment which utilizes the skills, self-discipline, and life experiences you have developed during military service. Former military personnel easily fit into the CHP’s workforce and adapt well to our paramilitary work environment. You can use your former military skills and self-initiative to help you promote through the CHP’s ranks.”
“This year alone the California Highway Patrol has been wrapped up in a number of corruption and excessive force accusations, most notably the police officer who was recorded assaulting a woman on the side of the road (see below), and the woman who caught an officer stealing private photographs from her phone while she was arrested on a DUI charge,” writes John Vibes.
Given the overwhelming backlash to the increasing militarization of domestic policing in the aftermath of the Ferguson unrest, why is the California Highway Patrol still referring to itself as a “paramilitary organization”?
Instead of emphasizing “protect and serve,” why is the CHP advising new recruits that they are about to join an organization that utilizes tactics more in common with the military than regular domestic law enforcement methods of policing?
In a recent report, the ACLU warned that the increasing militarization of police has served to make law enforcement officers overlook the fact that, “they are supposed to protect and serve our communities, not wage war on the people who live in them.”
As you can see in the video below (skip forward to the 10 minute mark), given the nature of police training now being taught to officers across the country, it’s unsurprising that law enforcement agencies are openly embracing the fact that they are now paramilitary units.
H/T: Free Thought Project