The criminologist Peter Kraska has estimated that there are are somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000 SWAT raids per year now in America, and that number is likely growing.
A new bill in Utah that would require the state’s police agencies to report statistics about how and how often they use their SWAT and tactical teams has just unanimously passed a committee in the state’s senate. The bill is part of a larger, fascinating police reform movement currently under way in Utah.
A San Bernardino County Sheriff SWAT team returns to a command post at Bear Mountain near Big Bear Lake, Calif. (AP Photo/Pool, The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Will Lester)
If it passes, Utah would become the second state in the country—after Maryland—to require police agencies to track that information. Collecting data about how SWAT teams are used, how often they’re used, and what results from their deployment is a critical step toward determining whether or not they’re being used properly. The biggest barrier to performing that sort of analysis has always been that the data just don’t exist.
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