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


Racist Policies Need to Go

By Jonathan Blanks. In Justice Today. August 11, 2017.

Criminal Justice on a Hunch

By Jonathan Blanks. Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. July 19, 2017.

Know Your Rights When Stopped by Police

By Tim Lynch. USA Today. May 15, 2017.

Cato Studies

Deep Racial Divide in Perceptions of Police and Reported Experiences, No Group Is Anti-Cop

By Emily Ekins. Public Opinion Brief No. 1. March 1, 2017.

Stingray: A New Frontier in Police Surveillance

By Adam Bates. Policy Analysis No. 809. January 25, 2017.

Keep the Kids Inside? Juvenile Curfews and Urban Gun Violence

By Jillian B. Carr and Jennifer L. Doleac. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 47. March 16, 2016.


Thin Blue Lies: How Pretextual Stops Undermine Police Legitimacy

Jonathan Blanks. Case Western Reserve Law Review. Vol. 66. No. 4. 2016.

Ending Legalized Piracy: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

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

The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

Cato's Letter. Radley Balko. Vol. 11. No. 4. Fall 2013.

Public Filings

Carpenter v. United States

By Jim Harper, Ilya Shapiro, and Ryan Radia. Legal Briefs. August 11, 2017.

Buehler v. Austin Police Department

By Ilya Shapiro, Devin Watkins, and Mickey H. Osterreicher. Legal Briefs. January 4, 2017.

Fields v. City of Philadelphia

By Alfred W. Putnam Jr., D. Alicia Hickok, Mark D. Taticchi, & Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. October 31, 2016.

Cato Reviews & Journals

20. Stopping Police Militarization

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).

Policing in America

Policy Report. March/April 2016.

The Myth of the Magic Bullet

Policy Report. January/February 2016.


Stingrays: A New Frontier in Police Surveillance

Featuring Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Julian Sanchez, Adam Bates, & Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD). February 15, 2017. Policy Forum.

The State of American Criminal Justice

Featuring Harvey A. Silverglate, Matthew Feeney, Adam Bates, Jonathan Blanks, & Trevor Burrus. December 7, 2016. Conference.

You Have the Right to Remain Innocent

Featuring Randy E. Barnett and Tim Lynch. September 29, 2016. Book Forum.