Police State


“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” —Benjamin Franklin


Police State Resources

Rise of the American Police State


The Rutherford Institute is leading the charge in warning against a rapidly growing—and increasingly out-of-control—American police state. 

With over an estimated 80,000 SWAT raids per year, an increase in fatal (and often-times unnecessary) police shootings, and a routine dependence on militarized weapons and vehicles, local police departments are beginning to act like and resemble a standing army. 

The American police force, however, is not a branch of the military, nor is it a private security force for the reigning political faction. It is an aggregation of the countless local units that exist for a sole purpose: to serve and protect the citizens of each and every American community. In recent years, however, there has been an increasing militarization of the police. It has not occurred suddenly, in a single precinct; it cannot be traced back to a single leader or event—rather, the pattern is so subtle that most American citizens are hardly even aware of it. Little by little, police authority has expanded, one weapon after another has been added to the police arsenal, and one exception after another has been made to the standards that have historically restrained police authority. When analyzed as a whole, this trend toward militarization is undeniable, and it is one that could have serious implications for American liberty if left unchecked.



Our Recent Work in Police State


Constitutional Q&A: Rules of Engagement for Interacting with Police

Court Rules in Favor of Police Who Pounded on Wrong Door, Didn't Identify Themselves, Then Killed Innocent Man for Holding a Gun

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Abusive Civil Forfeiture Law, Allows Police to Keep $201,000 in Cash from Legal Home Sale with No Proof of Criminal Activity

Rutherford Institute Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Hold Police Liable for the Reckless Shooting of a Homeless Couple in the Wake of a Warrantless Raid

Rutherford Institute Challenges Use of Anonymous Source as Basis for Unconstitutional, Warrantless Raid, Search, Use of Force & Arrest by Police

Rutherford Institute Issues Constitutional Guidelines to Aid Citizens and Police in De-Escalating Encounters, Protecting Rights, Life & Property

Rutherford Institute Identifies Virginia Tactical Police Who Carried out 'Welfare Check' With a 2-Hour, SWAT-Style Raid, Grenade & Wrongful Arrest

Victory: Virginia Police Agree to Settle Lawsuit Over Wrongful Arrest, Strip Search & Detention of Disabled Man Based on Slurred Speech, Unsteady Gait


Commentary on Police State Issues


The Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms: A Government of Scoundrels, Spies, Thieves, Ruffians, Rapists and Killers

Killer Instincts: When Police Become Judge, Jury and Executioner

Don’t Just Blame the Cops: Who Is Responsible for America’s Killing Fields?

Programmed to Kill: The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Dogs

‘We the Prisoners’: The Demise of the Fourth Amendment

Fleecing the American Taxpayer: The Profit Incentives Driving the Police State

America’s Gestapo: The FBI’s Reign of Terror

The People vs. the Police State: The Struggle for Justice in the Supreme Court

What If Jesus Had Been Born 2,000 Years Later in the American Police State?

This Thanksgiving, Let’s Say ‘No Thanks’ to the Tyranny of the American Police State