July 5, 2018

Militarization of police has caused more deaths of suspects

Edward Lawson, University of Utah - In recent years, the killing of suspects by police and the “militarization” of police have drawn considerable public attention, but there is little analysis of a relationship between the two. I investigate the possibility that such militarization may lead to an increase in suspect deaths using data on police receipt of surplus military equipment to measure militarization and a newly created database on suspect deaths in all fifty states quarterly from the fourth quarter of 2014 through the fourth quarter of 2016. The data consist of more than eleven thousand agency-quarter observations. I find a positive and significant association between militarization and the number of suspects killed, controlling for several other possible explanations.

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