Militarizing police does not reduce crime but does increase police killings.
It is critically important to ban militarized policing whether or not your local police force is currently engaged in it.
We recommend working with us, as many localities now are, to study your locality, build a coalition, launch a petition, pursue media coverage, and move your local officials. To start a local campaign to ban militarized policing in your locality, anywhere on earth, contact World BEYOND War.
Read the Police Militarization Research Compendium by Alison J. Cole.
Here is evidence that police with more military weaponry kill more people.
Here is a September 16, 2020, report from Costs of War.
Here is an October 2020 report from Peace Direct.
See also the Defunding Violence tool kit from Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
Read Demilitaring America’s Police by The Constitution Project.
Read Stop Militarizing Our Communities by Win Without War, 2021.
Here’s a report on what Washington D.C. has done. On July 31, 2020, the state of Connecticut banned police use of “military designed equipment classified by the United States Department of Defense as part of the federal 1033 program that is (A) a controlled firearm, ammunition, bayonet, grenade launcher, grenade, including stun and flash-bang, or an explosive, (B) a controlled vehicle, highly mobile multi-wheeled vehicle, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle, truck, truck dump, truck utility or truck carryall, (C) a drone that is armored or weaponized, (D) controlled aircraft that is combat configured or combat coded or has no established commercial flight application, (E) a silencer, (F) a long-range acoustic device, or (G) an item in the federal supply class of banned items.”
One thing you can get started on right away is drafting a petition. You can start by modifying this draft:
To: _________ City Council
We urge you to ban from _________:
(1) military-style or “warrior” training of police by the _____ military, any foreign military or police, or any private company;
(2) acquisition by police of any weaponry from the ________ military;
(3) acquisition or use of automatic or semi-automatic weapons, armored personnel carriers, chemical weapons, kinetic impact projectiles, acoustic weapons, directed energy weapons, water cannons, disorientation devices, or ultrasonic cannons;
(4) any police hiring preference for applicants with military experience;
(5) any cooperation with or toleration of militarized policing in ________ by state or national forces; and
We urge you to require for _________ police:
(1) enhanced training and stronger policies for conflict de-escalation, and limited use of force for law enforcement.
Your goal should be a resolution something like this:
According to the 2020 Democratic Party Platform, “Democrats believe weapons of war have no place on our streets, and will once again limit the sale and transfer of surplus military weapons to domestic law enforcement agencies — a policy President Trump reversed immediately upon taking office.” In fact, the pre-Trump policy was far from sufficient. What we need is a ban on the U.S. government providing weapons to police departments.
On January 26, 2021, the Biden White House announced an executive order on this topic to be released that day. It was not released.
Limits on military weapons to police were in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed by the House (but not the Senate) in the 2019-2020 Congress, but yet to be introduced in the new 2021 Congress with Democratic majorities in both houses.
Cities must act in order to ban weapons from any sources, not just from the U.S. government; in order to ban military-style training by anyone; and in order to build pressure on the U.S. government to act as well.
Alison Cole is a former researcher and activist living in Portland, Oregon. She is working with a coalition of community organizations to demilitarize their local law enforcement agencies.
July 23, 2020 NewsRadio WINA · The Man Behind the Petition to De-Militarize Charlottesville Police Les Sinclair talks with David Swanson, executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org and the man whose petition was turned into a resolution