Friday, June 5, 2020

The 1033 Program and the Militarization of American Police Forces

Let's open this posting with three videos.  The first shows a recent confrontation between Denver police forces and a non-protesting civilian vehicle containing a pregnant woman (second video):

Here is what happened to an elderly man with a cane when he got in the way of Salt Lake City's Rescue Team (aka SWAT Team) when they arrive on the scene of a burned out police vehicle (21 minute 45 second mark):

Lastly, this is what happened to 75 year-old Martin Gugino who received some special treatment from Buffalo's finest:

Notice how none of those who are employed to "serve and protect" came to the man's assistance when it was clear that he hit his head hard enough that he was bleeding from his ear?

With these recent events in mind, let's look at one of the main reasons behind the increasing violence meted out on America's civilian population by its police forces; militarization.

Let's look at some background first.  Back in 1997, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the 1033 program was enacted to allow the Department of Defense to offload excess equipment to local law enforcement agencies for no cost (except for shipping costs which are borne by the law enforcement agency) though the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) division of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) as shown here:  

According to LESO, since its inception, the 1033 program has transferred more than $7.2 billion worth of property to local law enforcement with $293 million worth of equipment being transferred in fiscal year 2019 alone (values are based on initial acquisition costs).  Requisitions cover a very wide spectrum; from clothing and office supplies, tools and reduce equipment up to small arms and tactical vehicles which have benefited more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States.  Of the transfers, only five percent are small arms ($360 million worth) and one percent are tactical vehicles ($72 million worth).

On the DLA's High Visibility Property webpages we find these two pages:

1.) Small Arms (under .50 caliber):

LESO states that small arms obtained though the 1033 program are on loan from the Department of Defense and may not be permanently modified; when arms are returned to the DoD, they must be restored to their original configuration.

The 1033 program certainly looks like "one-stop shopping" for all of civilian law enforcement's military needs, doesn't it?  

LESO is required to release data of its "accountable property" on a quarterly basis since fiscal year 2016. Since Minnesota is the source of the most recent policing "issues", let's look at what the state has acquired through the 1033 program.  In total, Minnesota state law enforcement agencies have acquired 5,651 items with acquisition values ranging from $0.41 for a dust and moisture sealed protective cap to $865,000 for mine resistant vehicles.   Here is a complete listing of the Mine Resistant Vehicles that have been acquired by Minnesota's law enforcement agencies and which agencies have acquired this equipment because, after all, you can never have enough mine resistant vehicles:

In total, the state of Minnesota's law enforcement agencies have received at least $10,203,112 worth of DoD castoffs since the program began.

According to Campaign Zero, a police reform campaign that seeks to end police violence, one of the issues that has led to the increasing conflict between police and citizens is the militarization of America's law enforcement agencies.  They have the following recommendations:

1.) End the federal government's 1033 program.

2.) Establish local restrictions to prevent law enforcement agencies from purchasing or utilizing military weaponry as follows:

a) prevent police from using federal grant money to purchase military equipment.

b.) prevent police from deploying armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft, drones, Stingray surveillance equipment, camouflage uniforms, and grenade launchers.

c) prevent police from using SWAT teams unless there is an emergency situation or imminent threat to life and high-ranking officers have given approval.

d) prevent police from conducting no-knock raids.

e) prevent police from accessing federal grant money or purchasing military equipment if the department has been recently found to demonstrate a "pattern or practice" of discriminatory policing.

f) wherever possible agencies should seek to return to the federal government the military equipment that has already been received.

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly clear that America's law enforcement officials have taken an "us against them" philosophy when dealing with the citizens who pay their salaries.  The militarization of America's police has led to a scenario where the use of deadly force is just part of the business plan that is being used when dealing with the public, a business plan that has led to the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans at the hands of those that are hired to protect us. 

Let's close with this statement from the New York Civil Liberties Union regarding the gentleman that hit his head after being pushed by a Buffalo police officer:

Serve and protect indeed.


  1. How it feels to be a Palestinian, eh?!

    1. I always feel for the Gazans when I see Hamas bullies marching on the streets.

  2. I was just reading the South China Morning Post before visiting your blog. One etitorial was about the protesets and riots is the USA, comparing it to the Hong Kong protests and riots
    Hong Kong.

    The article had a link to the one time that the PLA garrison in Hong Kong was called out, /h PLA.

    The contrast between the tee-shirts, shorts and sneakers of the PLA was a contrast to the riot gear complete with helmets and shields of the "police" in US cities.

  3. Images of a cavalier and dismissive police officer with his knee on the neck of a handcuffed man that later died have brought people to the streets in protest of police brutality. Abuse, violence, and unnecessary force is not used only on blacks and other minorities but is also employed on whites.

    The expansion of the NSA and the militarization of police forces across America reeks of a growing Orwellian police state that should concern us all. Ironically this comes at a time many laws go unenforced. More on this subject in the article below.

  4. I hope we never end up like that it would all be under the United Nations Blue Helmets