ACLU: 62 Percent of SWAT Team Raids Were Searches For Drugs

250px-swat_teamThe 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

39 thoughts on “ACLU: 62 Percent of SWAT Team Raids Were Searches For Drugs”

  1. Paul C. Schulte:”Look, you give a guy a new toy he is going to find a way to use it as much as he can.”

    Sorry, Paul. We aren’t talking about toys here. We’re talking about deadly weapons. We’re talking about groups of sociopathic psychopaths who think that because they wear a shiny star on their camouflage they have the right to act like Rambo. This must be stopped. Want a reason to not ban assault rifles? This is it in a nutshell.

    1. Kraaken – the difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys. 😉

  2. Look, you give a guy a new toy he is going to find a way to use it as much as he can. The problem is that they bought the equipment and they want to use it as much as possible. It is mission creep. CO has no idea what kind of problems they have coming down the pike. Their problems are just beginning.

  3. What police state? 62% stake is a lot of dough that is not going to be just handed back without a peep. WA state legalized over a year and a half ago and they are still having trouble finding their behinds with both hands. CO is waaaay ahead of the game.

  4. Yep salty, America is a Police State. I hate what this country has turned into.

  5. Guilty until, regardless of an aquital or not guilty. The American Stasi Police State.

  6. This is a perfect example of the duopoly in complete bipartisan agreement. Both parties have continued this insane war. It will take a destruction of the duopoly to end this, and many other, insanities.

  7. This is just stunning and disgusting! What more can the average Joe do to bring attention to and maybe even reverse this horrific trend? The implications and repercussions of such a statistic speak to a broken justice system,,,,,broken on every level. There has to be an answer.

  8. You forgot the other use of SWAT: swatting. Brian Krebs was swatted by one of the children he writes about on his blog Krebs on Security.

    Many celebrities have been swatted. Our law enforcement geniuses have never bothered to think about the fact that Caller ID information generated by cell phone, VOIP, and other Internet devices can be easily spoofed, yet they blindly trust it to vector a team carrying a truckload of automatic weapons.

    I’m not normally one to advocate anarchy, but maybe that’s the solution. If enough people swat relatives and friends of police chiefs and SWAT team members, maybe they will get the message and back off their use of dangerous tactics.

    And legalizing marijuana in all 50 states and territories would also help.

  9. Scott, The correlation is just so apparent right down to the Capone’s and Escobar’s.

  10. And, this lobby, the armed police, detectives, prosecutors, prisons, etc.; all who feed off the public War on Drugs trough, is one of the most pernicious in continuing this insane war. A war by the way where they have gotten their asses kicked by ruthless private businessmen, for decades.

  11. This drug prohibition war is very much like the alcohol prohibition of the 1920s and its related violent crime. But now the government’s own police have become the violent criminals, they are the real Capones of our time.

    1. Legalizing pot, at least, would be a step in the right direction. Maybe others too. Perhaps those like pot and alcohol which are dangerous mostly to self, but sometimes others via DWI. No danger to others when you are enjoying a rerun of The Godfather drunk or stoned.

  12. This is just a result of the larger problem. That police have taken on a war fighter mentality, and see the public as a threat to them ending their tour. Many police officers and federal agents (especially federal) are former soldiers who don’t appear to have transitioned back to civilian life. That’s why police call the general public “civilians” instead of seeing them as fellow residents and equals. What bothers me the most is that even when police flash fry a child, or shoot one of the many dogs, or bust down the wrong door for a few ounces of pot., is that they never seem to get the right message from it. That’s why you never see an admission of wrongdoing, of understanding, of contrition. They see no need to be responsive to the fellow citizens they are supposed to be protecting. They are supposed to be patrolling their city, not securing their sector. That’s the problem that needs to be overcome. Once they don’t see the public as the enemy, then they can start to understand why they are viewed so negatively by large portions of society.

  13. Mostly drug raids, eh?

    Guns don’t kill… people do.

    Some of these people are members of SWAT teams. Paramilitary units with a military mindset as they enter. And all to find these drugs. That herb was going to attack the officer you know. So he shoots first and asks questions later.

  14. Law enforcement is an executive function, but the executive is referred to, even in court, as “The Government.”

    Addiction to ignorance, just preferring ignorance, or negligent nomenclature?

    Justice Souter indicates that two-thirds of Americans do not know that there are three branches of government (@1:27):

  15. Two schools of thought are probably in operation in most of these departments: Use it or lose it, and better safe than sorry, a variation of shoot first, ask questions later,

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