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


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By Nat Hentoff and Nick Hentoff. January 20, 2016.

2015: The Year Of “Cops On Camera”

By Matthew Feeney. December 29, 2015.

Where Does the Federal Government Stand on Body Cams?

By Matthew Feeney. Forbes. December 3, 2015.

Cato Studies

Watching the Watchmen: Best Practices for Police Body Cameras

By Matthew Feeney. Policy Analysis No. 782. October 27, 2015.

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.


Ending Legalized Piracy: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

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

Public Filings

Stamps v. Town of Framingham

By Matthew R. Segal, Adriana Lafaille, Ilya Shapiro, & Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. September 29, 2015.

Kane v. Lewis

By Adam K. Doerr, Erik R. Zimmerman, Ilya Shapiro, & Randal John Meyer. Legal Briefs. September 14, 2015.

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

By Jonathan Blanks. Testimony. April 20, 2015.

Cato Reviews & Journals

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Policy Report. January/February 2016.

Three Years of

Policy Report. July/August 2015.

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#CatoConnects: Prospects for Criminal Justice Reform

Featuring Adam Bates and Caleb O. Brown. November 9, 2015. Cato Connects.

Lessons from Baltimore

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