The ACLU is trying to find out the extent of "militarization" of police forces across the country, including 10 law enforcement agencies in Arizona.
Arizona's ACLU, as well as those in 22 other states, are filing public records requests "to determine the extent to which local police departments are using federally subsidized military technology and tactics that are traditionally used overseas," according to an ACLU press release.
The national ACLU cites 10 "chilling" stories of police militarization across the country, and two are from right here in the desert.
One of those is the Pima County Sheriff's Office SWAT team raid on the home of Iraq War veteran Jose Guerena, who ended up being shot 60 times in the highly questionable raid.
The other story is of a company called Scottsdale Inventions, which is trying to patent "shock cuffs" -- handcuffs that apparently deliver a shock similar to that of a stun-gun.
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According to the ACLU, here's what it's trying to get out of the agencies with the public records requests:
(1) the use of SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Teams, including the number and purpose of deployments, types of weapons used during deployments, injuries sustained by civilians during deployments, training materials and funding sources; (2) the use of cutting edge weapons and technologies, such as GPS tracking devices, unmanned aerial vehicles ("drones"), augmented detainee restraint ("shock-cuffs") and military weaponry, equipment, and vehicles obtained from or funded by federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense and/or Homeland Security; and (3) information regarding cooperative agreements between local police departments and the National Guard counter-drug program and incidents of National Guard contact with civilians.
The Arizona agencies on the receiving end of the ACLU's requests are the Arizona National Guard, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Pima County Sheriff's Office, Arizona Department Public Safety, Phoenix Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Tucson Police Department, Payson Police Department, and Yuma Police Department.
This one ought to get interesting -- we'll let you know when the ACLU gets back with some results.