Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
From city to city, law enforcement guidelines on crowd control and the use of force and firearms vary widely.
In the days following 18-year-old Michael Brown's death at the hands of officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, local police forces became the focus of many conversations around the country.
Peaceful protesters in Ferguson found themselves confronted by militarized cops that looked better armed for a war than a civil demonstration. That led to questions about how police forces around the country dress, what they carry, and what they drive when the people they've been hired to protect organize to express a dissenting voice.
From Mexico City to Kuala Lumpur, police forces are trained and armed for the possibility that lethal force ever becomes necessary. Marko Djurica for Reuters' Wider Lens blog recently compiled portraits of cops from around the world showing not only how they dress, but describing each force's rules of engagement: