The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently released a report that extensively details the ongoing militarization of state and local police departments across the country. The Union gathered information including incident reports and public records from over 250 of the nation’s law enforcement agencies and found that paramilitary-style police tactics – protocols that are traditionally used more for SWAT operations – were used for policing situations that traditionally had not called for such tactics. The records of these incidents were between July of 2010 and October of 2013 and were determined by the ACLU to be neither isolated nor random but consistent and widespread.
Current law enforcement tactics have been becoming increasingly aggressive over the last several years and have resulted in tragic consequences in many instances. Both civilians as well as law enforcement officers involved in such incidents have either been severely injured or in some cases even killed as a direct result of being involved in some way with these types of tactics. There have also been widespread reports of significant property damage and of civil liberty violations because of what many believe is the implementation of methods and equipment that are intended for and mostly used in the theater of war.
There are currently over 500 local and state law enforcement agencies across the United States that have acquired at least one Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, many have more than one and are in primarily urban jurisdictions where that type of heavily armored equipment is rarely, if ever, necessary.
The ACLU report also indicates that law enforcement seems to have garnered more legal access to private homes than was traditionally allowed because of the events of September 11, 2001 and the ongoing threat of terrorist activities and terror cells within the United States.