Since the 1980s the federal government has prompted the militarization of federal, state, and local law enforcement. That militarization has led not only to well-publicized disasters, but to a widespread increase in violent law enforcement, which has played a major role in alienating Americans from their government. Such baleful consequences are the result of another dangerous trend, the expansion of the power of federal criminal justice far beyond its legitimate constitutional limits. Law and order begin at the top; the most important criminal justice reforms are those that return federal law enforcement to its constitutional role.

More on Police Tactics and Misconduct

Commentary

Outrage over Forfeiture Reform Is Unjustified

By Adam Bates. Oklahoman. July 24, 2015.

Why We Don’t Need Body Cameras in Schools

By Matthew Feeney. Forbes. July 20, 2015.

Baltimore Burning: It’s Not a Matter of Money. We Tried That

By Michael D. Tanner. Newsweek. May 7, 2015.

Cato Studies

Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America

By Radley Balko. White Paper. July 17, 2006.

Deployed in the U.S.A.: The Creeping Militarization of the Home Front

By Gene Healy. Policy Analysis No. 503. December 17, 2003.

Articles

Ending Legalized Piracy: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

Roger Pilon and Trevor Burrus. Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress. 2015.

Public Filings

Testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Briefing on Police Practices and Use of Force

By Jonathan Blanks. Testimony. April 20, 2015.

O’Keefe v. Chisholm

By Bradley A. Benbrook, Stephen M. Duvernay, and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. February 20, 2015.

Heien v. North Carolina

By Noah A. Levine, Jonathan D. Hacker, Jamie S. Dycus, Stephen R. Shapiro, Ilya Shapiro, & Gabriel Latner. Legal Briefs. June 16, 2014.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Three Years of PoliceMisconduct.net

Policy Report. July/August 2015.

The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

Radley Balko. Cato's Letter. Fall 2013.

Events

Lessons from Baltimore

Featuring Tim Lynch, Michael D. Tanner, and Matthew Feeney. May 22, 2015. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Cops on Camera: Tech Solutions to Police Militarization & Misconduct

Featuring Jonathan Blanks and Kat Murti. October 23, 2014. Cato Digital.

Do American Police Departments Need Military Weapons from the Pentagon?

Featuring David B. Kopel, Mark Lomax, Cheye Calvo, & Tim Lynch. September 12, 2014. Policy Forum.