Kraska to Testify at U.S. Senate Hearing on Police Militarization

Kraska photo

Dr. Peter Kraska has been invited to share with the U.S. Senate his extensive and long-running research conducted at Eastern Kentucky University on the militarization of civilian police in the United States. Kraska will testify at a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Sept. 9. 

Kraska, professor and chair, Graduate Studies and Research, School of Justice Studies in EKU’s College of Justice & Safety, will testify at a high-profile hearing titled "Oversight of Federal Programs for the Acquisition of Military-Grade Equipment by State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies." His testimony comes at the invitation of U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), both ranking members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"Recent massive displays of military grade weaponry is quite alarming to politicians," said Kraska. "However, this has been going on since the late 1980's, long before 9/11. Military surplus like heavy weaponry, sniper rifles and armored personnel carriers have been transferred directly to police departments; and more recently, the Department of Homeland Security has funded the purchase of the same types of military gear and hardware. The bigger issue is the disconcerting blurring of the distinction between military and police. A clear distinction between police and military is a hallmark feature of democratic governance."

The hearing will examine the numerous programs that have allowed local law enforcement agencies to acquire equipment, including military equipment and law enforcement support equipment. It will also assess the justification for the programs and the processes and policies in place for coordinating, managing and overseeing them and for the officials who administer and utilize them.

Kraska will also address the effects of federal programs that allow the transfer of military gear to police and the effect that reception of military equipment has on local law enforcement agencies, including the increasing use and new types of use for SWAT teams over the past two to three decades.

EKU’s College of Justice & Safety was designated as a Program of Distinction by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education in 1998.

Published on September 04, 2014

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