SWAT teams as public charities?
I find this story troubling. ACLU was seeking to compile data on how often SWAT teams are called out in Massachusetts. It found that about 3/4 of LE agencies in the State organize their SWAT teams under "Law Enforcement Councils," which are entirely funded from LE agency budgets, but insist they are separately incorporated as 501(c) tax-exempt charities, and thus are not subject to public records requirements.
Hmmm... so they're private organizations? I suppose then that if they are sued they have only the legal standing of a private security corporation. Such as (1) there is no probable cause defense to a suit for wrongful imprisonment. A police agency is protected so long as its member had probable cause to arrest: in most States, a private party making a citizen's arrest doesn't have that. He is liable for false arrest unless the arrestee is actually guilty, however the suspicious the arrestee was. (2) There is no "qualified immunity" for actions taken when a reasonable officer would not have realized they were unconstitutional, even though they were. (3) There is no, I forget the case, but protection for the agency (as opposed to employees) unless the agency had a "pattern or practice" of violating constitutional rights. A private company is liable whenever its employee does a wrong in the line of duty, whether or not the company had a pattern or practice of wrongdoing.
Why do I suspect that the minute an LEC gets sued, it will discover that it actually is a government agency and not a private corporation?