(KMOV.com) -- The American Civil Liberties Union is asking local police departments how they determine when to use a SWAT team. The ACLU wants to know how decisions are made when it comes to using the military weapons and vehicles.
The ACLU said it is concerned when SWAT teams are used at crime scenes that they may frighten people.
ACLU Program Director John Chasnoff said there is evidence this type of military vehicle can sometimes make matters worse.
“We’re asking for every incident in 2012 where the SWAT team was deployed,” Chasnoff said, “Why it was, the outcome, were civilians injured and was an arrest actually made.”
The ACLU of Eastern Missouri said it’s focusing on four departments—St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Columbia and Farmington.
The ACLU said they also want to know about GPS tracking devices and who is tracking them.
Chasnoff said there seems to be a greater use of these things for more minor offenses.
“For a routine drug investigation,” said Chasnoff, “there’s no reason you need to think you have to enter with guns a blazin’.”
But some city residents said in certain dangerous situations, the more officers and weapons they see the better they feel.
“No one should be scared of that,” said south St. Louis resident Natasha Naka-Akpodee, “Because obviously they’re here trying to resolve a problem and get people off the streets.”
The four departments each have three days to give the ACLU the information they requested.