To be specific, in a Ph.D. dissertation, “The Economics Of Criminal Deterrence: A Public Policy Approach”, written in 78/79, I identified that the process of stigmatizing young people through more vigorous arrest policies and increased criminal prosecution would have only one effect, creating more criminals.
Concurrent with the increased law enforcement emphases on arrest & incarceration, police departments shifted from beat officers and 2 person cars to one person patrol cars and motorized patrol in place of foot patrol.
This shift had two effects,  the officers no longer had day to day personal contact with the residence of the community that they patrolled. Their interactions were reactive, based on some problem that they were assigned to deal with. When the beat patrol person walked the neighborhood he, (there were almost no female beat officers in the 30 years following WW II), would get to know the residence, their kids and would know who belonged and who did not belong. The residence of the beat area learned to trust their local officer, and there was real communications between them. Residence were not afraid of their local officer, and thus had less fear of the police in general.
The second effect was an unanticipated consequence of going to single officer reactive patrol policies. The officers no longer had a partner who would watch their back and who would help defuse situations through the good cop bad cop interplay. Officers in one person patrol cars were exposed to a much higher potential threat level, even though the likelihood of a violent encounter initiated by a citizen was not appreciably higher, the type of injury became potentially more serious. Police departments responded to this by training the officers in the Command Personality and the Command Voice. (Translated this means take immediate control, do not try to have a low keyed approach or interaction.)
As officers became curter, and less personal in their interaction, they were seen by the majority of the poor and minority citizenry as being hostile and aggressive. Not surprisingly the citizenry responded with their own “attitude” towards the police. (“Why are you hassling me?” Rather than “I’m sorry officer, what can I do for you.”) This cycle has continued with the police being more aggressive, being less willing to have citizens criticize them, and officer believing that they have to engaging in “attitude adjustment” when the citizen does not show sufficient respect.
As a final escalation in this cycle, officers began to call for backup, bringing other officers to the location. These officers arrive expecting the worst, high on adrenaline, and act accordingly.
This is simply a vicious cycle that has continued and intensified. A few months ago I heard an officer testify that he had to be more aggressive and use handcuffs on almost everyone that he encounters because people are watching MMA and becoming more fit.
In the business world there is an expression that managers “drink their own bath water”. This is what the law enforcement community is doing. They tell each other how dangerous the job is and how they “took the bad guy down”. All you have to do is listen to the interviews on T.V. to see their fear and their repetition of how dangerous the job is. But no one asks if the number of officers shot has increase in real terms, or if more officers are being injured due to MMA trained perpetrators. The one un-asked question is “when were you last faced with a gun totting suspect who threatened you with their gun?” If this question is asked, the answer will, in most cases, be NEVER. Yet, this is the justification for more and more Constitutional violations.
The point is that the attempts to save money by having one person patrols, and eliminating the beat officer, have resulted in an increase in the fear felt by officers, and in their very understandable, but improper response, the use of increased force and the lack of any tolerance for a citizen with an “attitude”.
When you add that to the trend towards more and longer incarceration for trivial violation, the natural consequence is that more people are being stigmatized, excluded from good jobs, good society, and good people and driven towards association with the “bad people”.
The problems in Ferguson are not limited to that community, but are endemic to communities across the nation. The solutions to these problems is not to make the police more military, but to make the officers part of the community, to go back to 2 person cars, and the de-escalation of the Command Personality in citizen police encounter. This is a process that will take a generation to show real results as it has taken over 50 years to develop the distrust and antagonism that we see in the street of America today.
Media and the average citizen need to be educated to try to get an accurate picture of the threat that officers face, (in general and in specific situations), and assess the unanticipated consequences of the move towards greater reliance on technology and the increasingly reactive nature of police- citizen interactions that the use of technology is creating.