Legal Feature


Demilitarizing America’s Police: A Constitutional Analysis



September 28, 2016

Warning that the use of military equipment by civilian police often begets unnecessarily aggressive tactics and over-enforcement, a national bipartisan coalition including constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead is calling on the Obama administration to demilitarize America’s police forces. The White House estimates that federal programs directly or indirectly provided $18 billion in military equipment to state, local and tribal police between 2009 and 2014, much of it with little oversight on who was receiving the gear or follow-up on how it was being used.

The coalition’s recommendations, compiled and published by The Constitution Project, are outlined in its report, “Demilitarizing America’s Police: A Constitutional Analysis,” which is available here and on The Constitution Project’s website.