Carnegie Mellon University

Militarized Policing in the United States and Abroad

with Dr. Erica De Bruin

Friday, October 22, 2021
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET

Watch the event here.

Policing is a central function of democratic and authoritarian states alike. In recent years, police forces around the globe have become more militarized—adopting the weaponry, equipment, and organizational structures of military forces. In the United States, this shift has been associated with increases in the use of force against civilians. Yet new data on the use of SWAT teams, riot squads, and other tactical units suggests that police militarization has been a global phenomenon. Why have so many states militarized their police forces in recent decades? How do trends in the United States compare to those in other democracies? What are the political consequences of militarized policing? And what are the conditions under which police reform might succeed? 

About Dr. Erica De Bruin:

Erica De Bruin is an Associate Professor of Government at Hamilton College, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Her work focuses on civil-military relations and civil war. She is the author of How to Prevent Coups d’état: Counterbalancing and Regime Survivalwhich was published by Cornell University Press in 2020. Her research has been published in the Journal of Peace Research and Journal of Conflict Resolution, as well as Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, and Political Violence at a Glance, and supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, International Peace Research Association Foundation, and American Political Science Association. It has also been mentioned in The New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, VoxSlate, and MSNBC, among other places.

Dr. De Bruin received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at Yale University in 2014, and a BA from Columbia University in 2004. She worked previously as a Research Associate in US Foreign Policy and International Law at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a Research Associate in the Fellows Program at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC.

At Hamilton College, Dr. De Bruin serves as the Director of the Justice and Security Program at the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, and organize the Women in Political Science lecture series. She teaches courses on international security, civil-military relations, civil wars, and US foreign policy.