62% of SWAT Raids Search for Drugs

According to a year-long study of police militarization by the American Civil Liberties Union, SWAT raids aren’t used nearly as often for the reasons you might think. The study looked at 800 SWAT deployments of teams among 20 local and federal police agencies in 2011-2012 and found that 62 percent of the raids were used to conduct searches for drugs. About 80 percent were to serve search warrants for drugs, while “hostage, barricade, or active shooter scenarios” (the common justification for SWAT raids) accounted for only 7 percent. In at least 36 percent of the raids, no contraband of any sort was found, though because of incomplete police reports, the real number could be as high as 65 percent. And, of course, SWAT tactics are disproportionately used on people of color.