News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.

ACLU report says American police forces increasingly militarized




Los Angeles County Sheriff's SWAT team members standing on a armored car arrive to help Los Angeles Police Department officers during a massive manhunt for a suspect who attempted to kill two detectives on June 25, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The shooting happened in the early morning hours as the two detectives were ambushed and slightly injured outside the Los Angeles Police Department's Wilshire Station, prompting the closure of a 25-square-block area in the Mid-City section of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's SWAT team members standing on a armored car arrive to help Los Angeles Police Department officers during a massive manhunt for a suspect who attempted to kill two detectives on June 25, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The shooting happened in the early morning hours as the two detectives were ambushed and slightly injured outside the Los Angeles Police Department's Wilshire Station, prompting the closure of a 25-square-block area in the Mid-City section of Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Listen to story

04:53
Download this story 2MB

Drones, armored tanks, bomb detecting robots and kevlar body armor are not only found in a military arsenal, but many modern police departments around the country.

A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union examines the trend of militarization among American police forces, including the increasing use of SWAT raids to do routine operations like serving a warrant or pressing drug charges. 

When SWAT teams originated in Los Angeles they were primarily intended to be used in situations in which a crime was actively being committed: active shooting, hostage situations or riots. But they have become an increasing fixture of police operations in many areas around the county.

Radley Balko said it's part of a trend of police departments becoming more militarized. He's an investigative journalist who writes for the Washington Post and author of the book "The Rise of the Warrior Cop."