Kraska's Chautauqua Lecture to Focus on Militarism as Problem-Solving Strategy
Dr. Peter Kraska has spent the last 25 years studying militarism and its consequences for how America deals with social problems, testifying last fall before the U.S. Senate on the militarization of police.
On Wednesday, March 25, Kraska, professor and chair of graduate studies and research in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, will again address the topic when he delivers a lecture in EKU's annual Chautauqua Series. Kraska, whose talk is entitled "All We See Are Nails: Using Militarism as a Problem-Solving Strategy," will speak at 7:30 p.m. in O'Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building. The event, part of the University's year-long series on "Strategizing," is free and open to the public.
Kraska is the author of seven books, including "Militarizing the American Criminal Justice System: The Changing Roles of the Armed Forces and Police," and one of his many articles is entitled "Militarizing Mayberry and Beyond: Making Sense of American Paramilitary Policing." A leading scholar in the areas of police and criminal justice militarization, criminal justice theory and mixed methods research, he is frequently asked to present his research and findings to academic and policy audiences. In addition, his work has been featured in media outlets such as 60 Minutes, The Economist, Washington Post, BBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, National Public Radio and PBS News Hour. On Thursday, March 19, at 11 a.m., Kraska will be a featured guest on WEKU's "Eastern Standard" program.
His Senate testimony on Sept. 9, 2014, came at the invitation of Sens. 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 are quite alarming to politicians," Kraska said last summer. "However, this has been going on since the late 1980s, 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 Senate hearing examined the numerous programs that have allowed local law enforcement agencies to acquire equipment, including military equipment and law enforcement support equipment. It also assessed 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 also addressed 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 uses for SWAT teams over the past two to three decades.
Published on March 14, 2015