3400 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21218
“The First Line of Defense: How Police Devised the the War on Crime at Home and Abroad”
A presentation by Stuart Schrader, Charles Warren Center, Harvard University.
Co-sponsored by: Arrighi Center for Global Studies, Center for Africana Studies, International Studies, Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship & the Sociology Department.
Police waged Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Crime,” which funneled federal money, materials, training, and technical assistance to states and municipalities. Through a close analysis of police experts’ own advocacy for the War on Crime, this presentation argues that law-enforcement leaders and their professional organizations were an essential constituency that devised and shaped this federal effort. Second, it shows that during the Cold War, these same key law-enforcement figures tested and implemented their police reform and professionalization measures in “third world” countries, as a central aspect of national security strategy to create “the first line of defense” against communist insurgency. This work overseas imparted lessons that they repatriated domestically, while also fostering organizational cohesion they then leveraged to demand federal intervention against urban unrest and crime. Overall, this presentation develops an approach to analyzing foreign policy and domestic policy in a single frame while showing how the personnel who enact policy also affect its design and implementation.