ACLU to Examine SWAT, Police Militarization
The ACLU will be seeking information on the number and purpose of SWAT deployments, the types of weapons used, injuries sustained by civilians, training materials, and funding sources for them.
The group will also be looking more generally at the use of advanced weapons and cutting edge technologies, including unmanned drones, GPS tracking devices, detainee restraint devices (“shock-cuffs”), and military weaponry, equipment, and vehicles obtained directly through the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security or funded by them.
They will also seek information from state National Guards regarding incidents of direct contact with civilians, as well as examining cooperative agreements between local law enforcement agencies and the Guard’s counter-drug program.
“The American people deserve to know how much our local police are using military weapons and tactics for everyday policing,” said Allie Bohm, ACLU advocacy and policy strategist. “The militarization of local police is a threat to Americans’ right to live without fear of military-style intervention in their daily lives, and we need to make sure these resources and tactics are deployed only with rigorous oversight and strong legal protections.”
The affiliates which filed public records requests are: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Once the information has been collected and analyzed, if needed, ACLU plans to use the results to recommend changes in law and policy governing the use of military tactics and technology in local law enforcement.