Rise of the Warrior Cop with Author Radley Balko

Main Library

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  • Rise of the Warrior Cop book cover
  • Author Radley Balko

Join author Radley Balko in the Main Library Auditorium at 7pm on Thursday, August 29 for a discussion of his new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces. The presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A session.

Balko is a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post, where he covers civil liberties and the criminal justice system. His research and reporting on police misconduct have been profiled in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Economist. In 2011, The Week named Balko a finalist for Opinion Columnist of the Year and the L.A. Press Club named him Best of Show Journalist of the Year.

Several recent police-civilian shootings in the Salt Lake City area have made police tactics a hot topic locally. These high-profile incidents of police confrontations ending in the death of a civilian or a police officer have given rise to public reflection on local policies and their implementation.

Rise of the Warrior Cop describes the historical events and justifications for the development of SWAT and other military-style tactics adopted in local police departments across America. As more police incidents end in violent confrontations, citizens are reconsidering the effectiveness and necessity of these militaristic methods of law enforcement. Balko’s critique is not of individual police officers, but rather the policies that over the last two decades have created a military mindset among civilian police departments, a sense among civilians that they are under siege, and an increase in botched SWAT and paramilitary raids that have resulted in the injuring and killing of innocent citizens, police officers, and nonviolent offenders.

"The vast majority of police officers are well-meaning public servants,” Balko writes in his essay “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.” “Unfortunately, they’ve been led to overly militaristic policing habits by politicians and policymakers too enamored with the idea of a warlike approach to fighting drugs."

The Library Store will have the book available for sale during the event. The author will be available for book signings afterwards.

Radley Balko, Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America, Washington, D.C: Cato Institute, 2006.

An art exhibit by Kelly Fay Simons will be displayed simultaneously in the Lower Urban Room Gallery. Simons was shot and killed by police on January 9, 2013, after an altercation with a Joint Criminal Apprehension Team that was investigating her as a suspect in a string of armed robberies in Murray and a prior shootout with police on January 5, 2013.

Location: Main Library Auditorium

Contact Information: (801) 524-8200