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

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Rein in Aggressive Knock-And-Talk Policing Practices, Fails to Hold Police Accountable for Shooting Innocent Man

Rutherford Institute Sues Police Over 'Broken Taillight' Traffic Stop That Resulted in Driver Being Punched, Beaten, Arrested and Hospitalized

Rutherford Institute Denounces Justice Dept. Plan to Expand Policing for Profit Schemes, Issues Constitutional Guidance on Civil Asset Forfeiture

Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Rein in Aggressive, Coercive, Potentially Violent Knock-and-Talk Practices by Militarized Police

Rutherford Institute, ACLU Et Al. Call on Police to De-Escalate Use of Force, Adopt Less Confrontational Tactics in Dealing With Protesters

Responding to Tension Over Removal of Confederate Statue, Rutherford Institute Urges Police to Exercise Restraint & Cease Aggressive Tactics

Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hold Police Liable for the Reckless Shooting of a Homeless Couple During a Warrantless Raid

Rutherford Institute Warns Against Coercive Use Of "Knock and Talk" Tactics by Police to Intimidate Americans & Sidestep the Fourth Amendment

Commentary on Police State Issues

Armed and Dangerous: If Police Don’t Have to Protect the Public, What Good Are They?

What Country Is This? Forced Blood Draws, Cavity Searches and Colonoscopies

Battlefield America Is the New Normal: We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore

Execution by Firing Squad: The Militarized Police State Opens Fire

Twilight of the Courts: The Elusive Search for Justice in the American Police State

The Iron Jaws of the Police State: Trump’s America Is a Constitution-Free Zone

Run for Your Life: The American Police State Is Coming to Get You

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?