The police response in Ferguson has been very well equipped (see also: Police Tactics, DOD 1033)

an officer in camouflage equipped with body armor and a 6-round 40mm grenade launcher (source)


ACLU Report:

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing


Articles Documenting Militarization

The militarization of police in cities across the US has been widely documented elsewhere:

At the root of much of this is a Department of Defense program known as DOD 1033

In addition to DOD 1033, there's other Federal Equipment/Training grants, high level list available here:

Comparison to actual military

Top: Baghdad, Traq. Bottom: Ferguson, Mo. (source - maybe not original source?)Left, police in Ferguson. Right, a soldier in Iraq. (source)


The Washington Post published "Military veterans see deeply flawed police response in Ferguson" on 8/14. In the story, a veteran said "You see the police are standing online with bulletproof vests and rifles pointed at peoples chests. That’s not controlling the crowd, that’s intimidating them."

Numerous media sources have compared police equipment in Ferguson to body armor and equipment they saw while embedded in Iraq or Afghanistan. One such tweet: "did 3 embeds reporting from Iraq in 2003-4. Police in these #Ferguson images have more body armor, weaponry than soldiers I reported on." (source)


A group of veterans respond to military tactics used in Ferguson. Important points:

  • ineffective
  • counter-productive
  • presence of law enforcement/military escalates the situation and creates mistrust and conflict
  • lax rules of engagement
  • hardware not proportionate to threat, many actual conflict zones have less tech
  • unnecessary levels of police violence exercised compared to handling riots in conflict zones
  • people worried about getting shot do not sit exposed on armored vehicles

Stories have surfaced of people in the Gaza Strip offering Tear Gas Tips to the people of Ferguson via Twitter.


Ryan Grimm, Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post, said "Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time, and it is now beginning to affect press freedom."


Senator Claire McCaskill has reportedly said "I think the militarization of response became more of the problem. ... It escalated the situation." Her office released a complete statement saying " constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right."

Senator Rand Paul (R - KY) has called for the demilitarization of police.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D - GA 4) announced his intentions to introduce a bill to demilitarize local police on 8/14.

John Cassidy writes about the worrisome rise of militarized police forces in Ferguson and across the US in the New Yorker.

In a press conference on Monday 8/18, President Barack Obama's first question was about the militarization of municipal police forces. The President said the distinction between police and the military has to be preserved.