Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Danger and Proliferation of SWAT teams

SWAT -- Special Weapons and Tactics -- Teams, created to respond to hostage taking or other extraordinary events, have proliferated throughout the U.S. A very powerful new report by Radley Balko, entitled Overkill, is a very thorough history of their expansion. Congress encouraged the U.S. military to provide military hardware to police departments, and SWAT teams are trained by military units. Balko is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington, and the author of the acclaimed blog, The Agitator.

SWAT teams, once found in only the largest cities, are now commonplace in medium cities and small towns.

A major result is that they are routinely used for commonplace police work. Routinely they are used for serving search warrants in drug cases. Balko has provided a stunning compendium of a decade of SWAT team catastrophes and misconduct.

If a critical component of a successful military action is proper intelligence and very careful planning and management, Balko reveals that paramilitary policing executes raids based on unreliable informants reports, and inadequate planning and supervision.

Read this report. Think about the vision of the framers of the Constitution, and the First Congress debating the Bill of Rights, and try to imagine their reaction.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: