Sen. Schatz Led Reforms to Dept. of Defense’s 1033 Program for Transfer of Military Equipment

US Sen. Brian Schatz
US Sen. Brian Schatz. Photo Courtesy

The US Senate voted today to override the President’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, including key reforms to the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which authorizes the federal transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.

The adoption of the provision follows legislation and calls from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) to stop police militarization and reform the 1033 program. Schatz first introduced bipartisan legislation to reform the program in May 2015, according to a news release.

“These reforms will help take weapons of war – including bayonets and grenades – out of our communities,” Sen. Schatz said. “This is an essential step forward in demilitarizing our police departments.”

Sen. Schatz forced a series of votes on the Senate floor in July during its consideration of the annual defense authorization bill. The final provision will restrict the transfer of bayonets, grenades, weaponized tracked combat vehicles and weaponized drones.

It also will require law enforcement agencies that receive 1033 equipment to certify that their police officers receive annual training on respect for the rights of citizens under the Constitution and de-escalation of force.

Reports have shown that police militarization fails to reduce rates of violent crime or change the number of officers assaulted or killed. Instead, arming police departments with military equipment has led to an increase in officer-involved shootings and civilian deaths, according to the news release.

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