Originally Published: August 23, 2018 7:41 p.m.
Every year, twenty young adults gather in Washington D.C. to train with Friends Committee on National Legislation as Advocacy Corps Organizers. As one of the young adult organizers and a Prescott native, I will soon be returning to help engage our community around scaling back the Pentagon’s 1033 program.
Police militarism within the United States continues to increase due to the Pentagon’s 1033 program, a program that transfers surplus military supplies to local law enforcement agencies across the nation. Recipients of the program include everything from local police to border patrol agencies, and the supplies they receive include but are not limited to items such as tracked military vehicles, weaponized drones, and grenades.
Any law enforcement department can apply for these supplies virtually without any oversight or accountability measures. Between the years of 2008 and 2012, the Prescott Police Department received 73 surplus items from the 1033 program, including a mine resistant vehicle, an armored truck, 5.56 millimeter rifles, and more. Without accountability and oversight measures in place, there is no guarantee of whether or not these items are still in use or how they are being used.
I ask that our community joins together to ask our members of Congress: Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. John McCain, and Rep. Paul Gosar, to co-sponsor the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, or H.R. 1556 and S.1856, to improve relationships between law enforcement agencies and the public as well as strengthen accountability and safety in our communities.