The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will launch a nationwide campaign to assess police militarization in the United States Wednesday, when ACLU affiliates in 23 states send open records requests to hundreds of state and local police agencies.
The ACLU will request information about SWAT teams, such as how often and for what reasons they're deployed, what types of weapons they use, how often citizens are injured during SWAT raids, and how they're funded.
The affiliates will also ask for information about drones, GPS tracking devices, how much military equipment the police agencies have obtained through programs run through the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, and how often and for what purpose state National Guards are participating in enforcement of drug laws.
"We've known for a while now that American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war," Kara Dansky, senior counsel at the ACLU's Center for Justice, told the Huffington Post. "The aim of this investigation is to find out just how pervasive this is, and to what extent federal funding is incentivizing this trend."