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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Speakers to tackle effects of police militarization

With the national spotlight on police conduct and procedures, the Wiley Lecture Series and Woodson Black Awareness Committee will work in conjunction Wednesday to host “READY FOR COMBAT: Police Militarization and Its Effects.”
Haley Mathews, Wiley Lecture Series symposia co-director, said the program will address the policy of the federal government sending surpluses of weapons and materials to local police departments and ways in which militarization has affected police-civilian relations.
“Just lately there has been a lot of news reports all over the nation of the effects of these military materials in local police departments and how the materials are used in different situations,” Mathews said. “That inspired us to take up the topic and look at it through an academic and practical real-world lens, rather than letting only the media educate.”
The goal of the program is to give the student body a well-rounded viewpoint on police militarization that makes it a more relatable topic other than just seeing it on the front page of a newspaper, Matthews said.
Joseph Cerami, senior lecturer and director of the Public Service Leadership Program at the Bush School, will be on the panel. He said there are complicated legal issues involved in the U.S. military supporting civilian authorities.
Cerami said it is a rare occurrence when the military reinforces police work and that this scenario has in the past only occurred in the case of major riots, such as when a governor feels unable to take care of the situation and asks the president to provide federal support.
“That occurred during the Civil Rights era, for example,” Cerami said. “When President Eisenhower sent an Army division, the 101st Airborne Division, to Little Rock, Arkansas to help with riot control. This, though, is very rare.”
Other members of the panel include Adrienne Carter-Sowell, assistant professor from the A&M department of psychology, and Art Acevedo, chief of the Austin Police Department.
The program will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Rudder 301. The event is free and open to all students.

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