Department of Justice
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As we previously discussed in a recent article here on SurplusBusiness.Com, titled “How Local Police Recieve Military Surplus — The 1033 Program“, the subject of law enforcement agencies receiving military surplus items and equipment via the 1033 program has, as of late, and due to fairly recent events which have made national news, become somewhat of a hot-button issue.
The internet has been awash with public questioning, and, in many cases, outright condemnation of the program. Why, people are asking, do small-town sheriff’s departments — ones which might preside over a town populated by no more than a few thousand people, perhaps — need to acquire fully armored military vehicles, and other such types of combat-style gear and equipment — from the United States Armed Forces? Understandably, with the increasing commonality of such acquisitions recently brought to light, and into the awareness of the public at large, people have been asking if such a program truly does serve the public’s best interests — or, instead, might it be working much more effectively to promote and facilitate the development of an uncomfortably oppressive state of law enforcement?
Well, now, it appears that the President has ordered a review of the programs through which the acquisition of military surplus items — such as weapons and other types of military equipment — by various law enforcement agencies is made possible.
A senior official in the Obama administration has stated that the President has ordered the review in order to assess:
“whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.”
The official also added that the upcoming review would seek out, and include, the participation and input of agencies such as The National Security Council, The Domestic Policy Council, The Office of Management and Budget, along with the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, The Department of Homeland Security, and the Treasury Department.
For quite some time now many people have been raising concerns regarding what appears to be the ever increasing militarization of local law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. And, of course, the recent events which took place in Ferguson. Mo., have brought these concerns squarely into the view of many citizens who may not have paid them much attention in the past.
During the public protests taking place in Ferguson, following the fatal shooting of an unarmed Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, citizens involved in the civil unrest were met by law enforcement equipped with armored combat vehicles, military-grade combat body-armor, and some military issue weaponry — all of which was obtained under the 1033 program, of which Obama appears to have now ordered a review.
The decision on the part of the Office of the President to bring forth such a review, of course, should really come as no surprise — seeing as how, as previously mentioned, the subject has drawn such critical attention from the public, and from some public service agencies and watch-dog groups. Back in June of this year, for instance, the ACLU published a report sternly warning of what it perceived to be an excessive and increasingly prevalent move toward the militarization of law enforcement agencies occurring throughout the country.
Online video sharing sites, such as Youtube, are now overwhelmingly replete with citizen captured videos of local police agencies executing over-the-top military style actions and tactics in the serving out of what used to be commonly considered as rather mundane tasks. One doesn’t need to dig very far to view multiple incidents of SWAT divisions from local law enforcement agencies, decked in full combat gear, executing violent no-knock entries for what is, in many cases, somewhat petty infractions.