On June 23, 2015 the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals considered the use of a SWAT team to execute a search warrant, as it relates to the people’s right to be free from excessive force. The decision of the 5th Circuit in Bailey v. Vinson should stand as a caution to police agencies that want to view the SWAT team as a fix-all tool.
The use of police SWAT teams has come under intense scrutiny in the last few years. With the media coining the term “militarization of police”, many civilians have come to question why police officers are looking like soldiers, and deploying from armored vehicles. Of course, this is all great for ratings and the media continues to stir up raw emotions by portraying American police officers in a decidedly negative light.