R Street supports 1033 program moratorium in the National Defense Authorization Act
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 1033 Program allows the Pentagon to transfer surplus, military-grade equipment and weapons to civilian law enforcement agencies. This contributes to police militarization, which undermines police-community relations and puts public safety at risk. Research demonstrates that the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement increases civilian deaths and does not reduce crime. More troubling is that the equipment is disproportionately deployed in communities of color.
An amendment sponsored by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), takes important steps to demilitarize police forces by placing a moratorium on the transfer of all military equipment and weapons to law enforcement agencies.
“Law enforcement officers are not at war with the communities they serve. Demilitarizing our police departments is a critical first step in reducing violence in our communities,” said Dr. Christi Smith, Fellow in Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties policy at the R Street Institute. “Hypersensitivity to the threat of violence by police and the people they serve has only led to more violence. Bipartisan support for the moratorium is a commonsense approach to improving public safety and restoring police-community relationships that are essential for reducing violent crime.”
Placing a moratorium on the 1033 Program is the best way to demilitarize our police forces and restore public trust in law enforcement. The House Rules Committee should make Rep. Pressley’s amendment in order for floor consideration when the House considers H.R. 4350, and all members to support efforts to limit the 1033 Program.