While the purpose of law enforcement is to serve and protect the people, many believe that federal programs such as the 1033 Program, which grants law enforcement agencies surplus military equipment free of charge from the Department of Defense, have been a key factor in the escalation of violence and violation of individual liberties in many communities. In 2015 President Obama has issued an Executive Order that will ban the U. S. government from providing certain types of military-style equipment to local police departments. While this is a positive first step, we must continue to work for permanent policy changes that will improve relations between police and the communities they protect.
Urge Congress to support measures to demilitarize law enforcement by cosponsoring HR 1232, The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.
The 1033 Program makes it easier for local law enforcement agencies to outfit its officers with firepower that is designed for use in warfare and often far beyond what is necessary for their work. Sending heavily armed and armored team of officers to perform “normal” police work can escalate fear and danger for police officers who are concerned with keeping communities safe, and for community members.
The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (HR 1232), sponsored by Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), requires local police departments to certify that they have personnel, technical capacity, and proper training to operate the property they receive from the Department of Defense. The bill would end the transfer of specific military-grade equipment to local police, such as grenades and armored or weaponized drones, and push for greater transparency and accountability of the program by requiring local police to account for all equipment they receive.
UAct Now! Urge your Member of Congress to support H.R. 1232!
Want to learn more? Download our resource on the militarization of law enforcement or visit our UCC criminal justice page.