ACLU launches nationwide look into police 'militarization'
Affiliates will send open records requests to agencies to look at SWAT teams, drones, more
By Kristen Butler
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in 24 states filed over 177 public records requests with law enforcement agencies to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments.
According to an ACLU statement, "Federal funding in the billions of dollars has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters — and yet very little is known about exactly how many police departments have military weapons and training, how militarized the police have become, and how extensively federal money is incentivizing this trend. It’s time to understand the true scope of the militarization of policing in America and the impact it is having in our neighborhoods."
Requests will include information on SWAT team weapons, deployment, injury rate, and funding. ACLU cites ten cases where the use of excess force and weaponry demonstrate the need for investigation.