Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America
Featuring the author Radley Balko, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute, with comments by Norm Stamper, Seattle Police Chief (Ret.) and author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of Policing.
Over the last 25 years, America has seen a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of SWAT units for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into homes. These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted suspects to the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping. In a new Cato Institute white paper, "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America," policy analyst Radley Balko looks at this disturbing trend in police work and analyzes the drug war incentives that have inspired it- The Cato Institute
The Cato Institute gratefully acknowledges the support of the Marijuana Policy Project in making this event possible.
Balko is senior editor at Reason magazine. Previously, he was a policy analyst for the Cato Institute, specializing in vice and civil liberties issues.
He writes on drug policy, police misconduct, obesity, alcohol and tobacco, and civil liberties. He also writes on trade and globalization issues and more generally on politics and culture. He is also a biweekly columnist for Fox News. His work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, TIME magazine, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Reason, Worth magazine, Canada's National Post, and the Chicago Sun-Times.
He blogs at The Agitator, his personal weblog, and for Reason's Hit and Run. He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, and National Public Radio.
Norm Stamper began his law enforcement career in San Diego in 1966 as a beat cop. In 1994, he was named chief of the Seattle Police Department, where he set about implementing many of the initiatives he writes about in Breaking Rank.
Retiring in 2000, he now lives in a cabin on a mountain in the San Juan Islands in Washington State.