Titled The Militarization of Local Police Departments, transparency group OpenTheBooks has published a report outlining the Pentagon’s decade-long transfer of military hardware to state and local law enforcement organizations.
OpenTheBooks’ analysis outlines the dispensation of arms, military-style vehicles and several hundred aircraft valued at over $2.2 billion since 2006.
In sum, over 83,000 combat rifles, mostly M-16 and M-14 rifles, 8,198 pistols and 1,400 shotguns valued at $31 million have been issued to civilian law enforcement; similarly, thousands of night-vision equipment, devices to detect explosives and both knives and bayonets estimated to exceed over $105,000,000 in value are said to have been to police since 2006.
Created under the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1997, the Defense Department’s 1033 Program authorizes the Pentagon to distribute excess military gear and arms to civilian law enforcement agencies.
Although OpenTheBooks’ summary dates only to 2006, the Pentagon’s program is ongoing and has existed in some form since 1943. Until 1990, when the National Defense Authorization Act expanded the distribution of military surplus for use in the War on Drugs, no lethal aid had been distributed to civilian law enforcement agencies.
By 1995, the program exploded: The Law Enforcement Support Office was established under the direction of the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services (DLA) to work solely with civilian law enforcement. By 1997, the program, once again, expanded to include cooperation with all law-enforcement agencies with an emphasis on counter-terrorism and anti-drug efforts.
Since 1997, over $5.1 billion in military hardware has been distributed to civilian law-enforcement agencies nationwide.
[OpenTheBooks] [RT News]