Ask the grumpies: trends in police militarization

Rose asks:

How much is being spent by police departments to militarize police forces? What are the current trends with unarmed people shot by police.

Here’s an article on militarization of police from PNAS 2018.

By 2014, the military had given away $4.3 billion in free military equipment to policy departments.  So… to answer your question, police departments are spending nothing.  This is all free from the overfunded DOD.  (Though, to be fair, the overfunded DOD also does a lot of medical research with their excess money.)

Here’s the Washington Post database of unarmed police shootings through Jan 22, 2020.  Here’s their updated page going forward.  We do not have official numbers because the government does not require this information be collected and some parts of government are actively preventing this information from being collected (ex. NIH is not allowed to fund gun violence as a public health problem).  It’s frustrating for crime researchers.

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