Criminologist Peter Kraska estimates that the number of SWAT team “call-outs” soared past 40,000 in 2001 (the latest year for which figures are available) from about 3,000 in 1981. The vast majority are employed for routine police work — such as serving drug warrants — not the types of situations for which SWAT teams were originally established. And because drug policing often involves tips from confidential informants — many of whom are drug dealers themselves, or convicts looking for leniency — it’s rife with bad information. As a result, hundreds of innocent families and civilians have been wrongly subjected to violent, forced-entry raids.
Update: (via Allan) Also in MAP’s DrugNews archive: US: OPED: Wrong Door. Send letters to: email@example.com