Researchers have long speculated that a militarized police force puts both cops and communities in greater danger. As Jared Keller reported for Pacific Standard in 2015, studies show that the mere presence of weapons can incite violence.
Apparently President Donald Trump did not get that memo. In August, Trump signed an executive order reviving a program to transfer surplus military gear to state and local police departments. The program was curtailed in 2015, after photographs of police responding to the protests in Missouri in armored vehicles sparked public outcry.
It's easy to see why it'd be harder to engage with the public (and de-escalate dangerous situations) from atop a tank. Effective policing requires the trust of the community being policed.
A version of this story originally appeared in the December/January 2018 issue of Pacific Standard.