The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report looking at police militarization and the use of SWAT raids. The study looked at 800 deployments of SWAT teams among 20 local, state and federal police agencies in 2011-2012 and found some interesting (though not necessarily surprising) statistics.
The study found that 62 percent of SWAT raids are targeting drugs. We have been discussing a series of mistaken raids, negligent shootings, and injuries associated with these drug raids — often carried out with “no knock” warrants. The police are routinely including a belief that guns may be present to secure “no knocks” and then pulling out their armored vehicles and SWAT teams.
The report also found that 36 percent of the SWAT raids found no contraband of any kind was found — and that this rate may be as high as 65 percent because of the incomplete reports of police. We have seen this statistic also reflected in recent tragedies.
Another interesting statistic is that 80 percent of SWAT raids were to serve a search warrant. That is far different from the original purpose of rescuing hostages and capturing armed escaped felons. These are people who have not been convicted of crimes. Conversely, just 7 percent of SWAT raids were “for hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios” — the famed purpose of the SWAT unit.
Another finding (that also reflects a recent tragedy of a baby seriously injured by a stun grenade) found that 65 percent of SWAT deployments resulted in some sort of forced entry into a private home, by way of a battering ram, boot, or some sort of explosive device. Yet, in over half those raids, the police failed to find any sort of weapon.
Here is the ACLU report: SWAT Report
Source: Washington Post