SWAT teams aren’t going to tell you when or where they’ve deployed, because they think they don’t have to.
As it turns out, a number of SWAT teams in the Bay State are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. These LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board, which is usually made up of police chiefs from member police departments.
. . .
Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests.
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Hiding behind the argument that they are private corporations not subject to the public records laws, the LECs have refused to provide documents regarding their SWAT team policies and procedures. They have also failed to disclose anything about their operations, including how many raids they have executed or for what purpose . . .
So, not only do they think they have the right to break down doors and terrorize people pretty much whenever they feel like it, they also think they don’t have to explain anything about their operations, or training, or staffing, or lots of other things.
I’d like to thank The Boston Globe for alerting us to this situation. Unfortunately, they either didn’t know about it, or didn’t think it was newsworthy, so we’re hearing about it from The Washington Post.
I’d also like to thank our Attorney General for standing up to the bullies in SWAT uniforms and defending the citizenry’s right to know, but that didn’t happen either.