Why Local Police Request Military Equipment

Posted August 22, 2015 at 5:10am

Mother Jones  digs into over 400 requests from local police for military equipment under the Pentagon’s so-called 1033 program, which came into question last year after the unrest in Feruson, Missouri.  

“And an analysis of these documents reveals that in justifying their requests, very few sheriffs and police chiefs cite active shooters, hostage situations, or terrorism, as police advocates do in public. Instead, the single most common reason agencies requested a mine-resistant vehicle was to combat drugs. Fully a quarter of the 465 requests projected using the vehicles for drug enforcement… By contrast, out of the total 465 requests, only 8 percent mention the possibility of a barricaded gunman. For hostage situations, the number is 7 percent, for active shooters, 6 percent. Only a handful mentioned downed officers or the possibility of terrorism.”  

“The focus on drugs may owe partly to the fact that the Pentagon originally launched the 1033 program to help local agencies fight the domestic war on drugs. But starting with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government vastly expanded the program, and created new, larger funding streams that help agencies purchase new combat equipment, under the guise of readying local police forces for future attacks.”