Home News The US police go to school from the far right – Alessio Marchionna

The US police go to school from the far right – Alessio Marchionna

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The US police go to school from the far right – Alessio Marchionna

Days ago Reuters revealed that in the United States many police instructors are on far-right political positions: they believe conspiracy theories like QAnon, they are convinced that the Democrats have rigged the presidential elections of 2020, some are or have been part of organizations that the government considers dangerous, including those involved in the assault on the congress on January 6, 2021.

The investigation focuses on the case of Richard Whitehead, an Idaho consultant who has taught 85 training courses for 560 police officers in twelve states in the past four years. On social networks, Whitehead has proposed the public execution of government officials who betrayed Donald Trump in 2020 and has repeatedly asked police officers to disobey the rules imposed by the government to stem covid-19. Like many others, Whitehead believes in the “constitutional sheriff” theory that sheriffs are truly responsible for law enforcement in the country, above even the president of the United States.

The stories told by Reuters shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given that the problem of the presence of right-wing extremists in law enforcement is almost as old as the country itself. We also know from a number of inquiries that the situation has worsened considerably over the past twenty years. But the investigation is especially interesting because it sheds light on the relationship between police departments and companies that offer officer training services. “As Arjun Sethi, a Georgetown University law professor who focuses on law enforcement, explains, ‘US officers do far less training in early career police academies than their peers in other countries.’ Much of the training is done when the agents are already on duty, and this creates enormous commercial opportunities for companies in the sector ”.

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State authorities set certain training requirements, such as compulsory course hours, but private trainers, who in most cases are former police officers, former sheriffs or former military personnel, are free to teach what they see fit. In this historical period, when crime is on the rise in many cities and police departments are criticized for violating human rights, trainers tend to convey to officers the idea that their lives are constantly in danger, and to instill in them a “Warrior mentality”, which expects to respond to any potential threat as decisively as possible.

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