The Government Gives Local Police Surplus Weapons…and Requires Them to Use Them Immediately?
With the ongoing chaos after that police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, there’s been a lot of talk about how the U.S. government has MILITARIZED local police forces.
And it’s true…the Pentagon HAS been giving them huge amounts of firepower. The Department of Defense has something called the 1033 Program that lets local police departments apply to get surplus military equipment.
It was created to help the police in case of massive showdowns in the war on drugs . . . and then continued after September 11th so the police could be prepared to take on terrorists.
Well, the crime rate plummeted and domestic terrorism never became a real threat. So it’s been VERY rare that police forces needed military-grade equipment to handle their duties.
But, the 1033 Program has a clause in it where the police are REQUIRED to use the weapons the government gives them within a year…or they get taken away.
So that’s led to the equipment being used in situations that don’t require anything CLOSE to that much firepower…like basic SWAT missions. Or, like in Ferguson, going to war with protestors.