Across the country, local police departments are acquiring Iraq War fighting vehicles under a military surplus program, the Associated Press reports. The mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPS) -- essentially 36,000 pound armored tanks -- are already being used by police and sheriff departments from Boise to Albany to intimidate suspected criminals in high-threat situations. The ACLU is concerned about the implementation of these vehicles and believes that "towns don't need tanks."

The American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing what it sees as the increasing militarization of the nation’s police. ACLU affiliates have been collecting 2012 records to determine the extent of military hardware and tactics acquired by police, planning to issue a report early next year.

“One of our concerns with this is it has a tendency to escalate violence,” said ACLU Center for Justice senior counsel Kara Dansky.

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