Like visits from Haley’s Comet, the ACLU and I generally agree on something once every 75 years or so. Their latest campaign, though, looking at the increasing militarization of police departments is one of those rare events. What’s somewhat ironic about this is that the ACLU is usually considered a left-leaning organization and many members hail from the liberal side of the political spectrum. That said, it seems that the quiet Rambofication of our nation’s police departments can no longer continue under the radar . . .
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. On March 6th, ACLU affiliates in 23 states filed over 255 public records requests with law enforcement agencies and National Guard offices to determine the extent to which federal funding and support has fueled the militarization of state and local police departments. Stay tuned as this project develops.