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

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.

Public Filings

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.

United States v. Wurie

By Jim Harper and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. April 9, 2014.

Pottawattamie County v. McGhee

By Tim Lynch and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. September 18, 2009.

Cato Reviews & Journals

The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

Radley Balko. Cato's Letter. Fall 2013.

Events

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.

Lessons from Ferguson

Featuring Tim Lynch. September 10, 2014. Policy Forum.

The Ongoing Events in Ferguson, Missouri

Featuring Tim Lynch. August 22, 2014. Special Event.