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NCJ Number: 191874 Find in a Library
Title: Applying the Powell Doctrine to Law Enforcement
Journal: Police Chief  Volume:68  Issue:10  Dated:October 2001  Pages:114-119,122
Author(s): Edward Leach
Date Published: October 2001
Page Count: 7
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses use of force by law enforcement units.
Abstract: General Colin Powell's Doctrine of the U.S. Armed Forces is that the United States should be "the meanest dog in town" to frighten a potential enemy and deter it from considering any action against the United States. When force is used, it should be with "overwhelming strength and no halfway measures." In law enforcement, these principles are routinely applied in both field and tactical operations. Overwhelming strength is first and foremost a deterrent. Military personnel are prohibited from enforcing civil law, leaving law enforcement to provide resources for a situation that requires military-type firepower and assault tactics. Paramilitary units such as SWAT teams are the only viable option for law enforcement to effectively protect the general public against extremist militias and other antigovernment groups. Law enforcement adherence to Powell Doctrine principles decreases the use of force by and against law enforcement officers. Application of the Powell Doctrine is clear: have overwhelming and superior resources available, primarily as a deterrent, but use them decisively when needed.
Main Term(s): Police
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Deterrence effectiveness; Lawful use of force; Police effectiveness; Police response to terrorism; Police specialized training; Police tactical deployment; Police use of deadly force; Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
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