Rise of the SWAT team: Routine police work in Canada is now militarized

The militarization of United States police forces has received a lot of attention in recent years, especially after high profile incidents in places like the Missouri town of Ferguson and other police shootings across the U.S.

Scholars have tended to focus on these U.S. shootings, overlooking Canadian cases when forming their understanding of the issue. But without Canadian-focused data and research, we’re at risk of overlooking the massive militarization that has been occurring among Canada’s major police forces.

Our research examines militarization within Canadian police forces over the last decade. With 12 cities that are home to more than 500,000 people, and at least 22 police services that each employ 500 or more officers, it’s important to look at policing trends in Canada’s major urban centres.