ACLU, NAACP, others ask Congress not to allow military transfers to cops
A coalition of liberal groups is asking Congress to implement a moratorium on a program that provides surplus military equipment to local police departments until lawmakers can improve oversight of the program.
The Trump administration in August repealed Obama-era restrictions on the Defense Department’s 1033 program, which has provided billions of dollars of equipment ranging from night-vision goggles to armored vehicles to local law enforcement.
Advocates of police reform have been critical of the Trump administration changes, concerned they allow for militarization of local law enforcement agencies in a manner that strains relationships with the communities they serve.
“We ask you to exercise your oversight responsibilities to ensure that, if military equipment is provided to law enforcement, such equipment is not overused and misused,” the groups, which include the ACLU and the NAACP, wrote to leaders of the several House committees.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy change, saying the Obama-era restrictions went too far.
The changes implemented by the Trump administration scrapped oversight and training requirements adopted by President Obama. They also restored departments’ ability to acquire equipment that was previously banned — such as bayonets and grenade launchers — and did away with requirements that agencies explain the need for other items and verify that officers would be trained how to use the equipment.
The Trump administration in August repealed Obama-era restrictions on a program that provides military equipment to local law enforcement. Liberal groups seek a moratorium.