Canadian Police Tactical Units: The Normalization of Police Militarization or a Pragmatic Response to High-Risk Calls?

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Jenkins, Bryce William




Police tactical units (PTUs) were originally developed to be small teams of officers who respond to high-risk calls with specialized training and equipment designed to minimize harm to both the public and officers. The limited research available suggests that, much like their American counterparts, Canadian PTUs have become normalized in that they commonly respond to 'routine' calls. This thesis sought to expand upon previous literature by moving beyond crude data (e.g., original calls for service) to determine the presence of risk-factors in PTU calls, which may explain when and why these teams are used. Throughout interviews with patrol and tactical officers it became clear that PTUs are consistently used for high-risk calls, resulting in safer outcomes due in part to their level of training and equipment. These findings conflict with previous assumptions that PTUs are analogous to the police waging war on the public it is supposed to serve.


Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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