Militarization of Police

Trump Wants Police to Keep Getting Military Equipment From the Pentagon

Donald Trump says he would rescind President Obama's executive order halting the transfer of military equipment to police.


Marc Golub/Polaris/Newscom

Donald Trump says he would restart a controversial federal program that transfers surplus military equipment to local police departments, The Guardian reported Monday night:

During discussions at a fraternal order of police lodge in Akron, Trump was asked by one questioner if he would return "military equipment" to law enforcement, according to a pool reporter who observed the event.

"Yes, I would," said Trump, who added that the current situation facing law enforcement was "ridiculous."

President Obama issued an executive order last May banning the transfer of several categories of military surplus equipment, such as bayonets, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, and tanks, from the Pentagon to local police departments under the federal government's 1033 program.

The Obama administration came under a hail of criticism from Black Lives Matter and civil rights groups who said the 1033 program contributed heavily to the militarization of police on display during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

In a Fraternal Order of Police presidential candidate survey released last month, Trump also pledged to rescind the executive order, calling it an "excellent program that enhances community safety."

Trump has in recent months worked to frame himself as the "law and order" candidate, bashing the Obama administration's commutation efforts for putting "bad dudes" back on the street. "There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct," Trump said in a speech last Tuesday. "Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump Administration."

However, the White House is also now re-reviewing the 1033 program after meeting with law enforcement leaders in the wake of the fatal shootings of five police officers in Dallas. Law enforcement groups have been pressing the administration to revive the program, saying local police departments are now unable to afford vital equipment.

Jim Pasco, the executive director of the FOP, said he was "pleased" to hear Trump's comments. "We think the 1033 program is extraordinarily important to public safety and officer safety," Pasco said.

The Fraternal Order of Police state chapters will hold elections on September 16 to decide whether to endorse Trump, Clinton, or neither candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

As my colleague Anthony Fisher wrote, the 1033 program has transferred $2.2 billion worth of military equipment to local and state police since 2006, including:

  • 7,091 trucks ($400.9 million); 625 mine-resistant vehicles (421.1 million); 471 helicopters ($158.3 million); 56 airplanes ($271.5 million); and 329 armored trucks and cars ($21.3 million)
  • 83,122 M16/M14 rifles (5.56mm and 7.62mm) ($31.2 million); 8,198 pistols (.38 and .45 caliber) ($491,769); and 1,385 riot 12-gauge shotguns ($137,265)
  • 18,299 night-vision sights, sniper scopes, binoculars, goggles, infrared and image magnifiers ($98.5 million); 5,518 infrared, articulated, panoramic and laser telescopes ($5.5 million)
  • 866 mine detecting sets, marking kits, and probes ($3.3 million); 57 grenade launchers ($41,040)
  • 5,638 bayonets ($307,769) and 36 swords and scabbards.

Pasco said he met with White House officials again Monday to discuss the issue and said "the president is committed to reviewing the program."

You can read more Reason coverage on the DoD's 1033 Program here.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that President Obama's executive order halted the entire 1033 program. In fact, it only banned the transfer of some categories of surplus military equpment.

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  1. the 1033 program has transferred $2.2 billion worth of military equipment to local and state police since 2006

    Between all the free shit and asset forfeiture cash, I’m beginning to see how cops can afford to all be driving fancy new chargers all of a sudden.

    Also, bayonets?

    1. Autistics ain’t gonna impale themselves.

  2. This is what you call playing politics. He has nothing to lose and stands to gain at least a little by pandering to the law and order folks.

    See #BLM? This is what happens when you tie yourself to partisan politics above issues. If Trump believed for even one second that he could peel off 50% of the black vote by going hard #BLM, he’d do it. The guy is a straight populist with no guiding principles at all. If your vote was in play, you’d have the two major parties by the balls.

    As it stands, Hillary knows who you will vote for and knows that she only needs to pay enough lip service to keep turnout high enough.

    This election could have been the election where #BLM got promises up the ying-yang.* But it won’t be because nobody thinks for even a second that your movement hasn’t been co-opted by the democrat machine – just like all the other race-grievance organizations.

    * They would have been empty promises. But that’s all you get from candidates anyway.

    1. The guy is a pandering machine. Seems to work for him.

  3. Trump and Obama agree. That ought to be good for a few Black votes over the old cracker lady who fears little “superpredators”.

    1. Shill on down, shill on down the ro-hoad…

      1. SIV has a poster in his room of Trump holding an acrylic shield and extra-long baton, wearing a riot helmet and combat boots and nothing else.

        1. I heard SIV is getting this done as a back piece.

          1. That’s from a page called “God-Emporer Trump”.

          2. Can you still get into Spray Tan Heaven if you get a tattoo?

            1. Can you get into Spray Tan Heaven without a tattoo?

          3. Oh, I thought he was gonna get a tattoo of Trump’s desk on his back.

      2. You don’t have to like SIV, but how is he wrong here? He has explicitly come out and said what Obama is currently doing and what Hillary will continue to do.

        1. I will not separate it from his constant trolling for Trump. Tony might be on the right side of something occasionally, but it doesn’t keep him from being a piece of shit.

          1. Dude, you are comparing plastic prop apples to Venezuelan oranges.

            1. No, SIV has been a shit for years. He just gets a pass from a certain sect because his politics side with theirs.

  4. bashing the Obama administration’s commutation efforts for putting “bad dudes” back on the street.

    But Obama needed those bad dudes to rescue him from the Ninjas.

  5. “The Obama administration came under a hail of criticism from Black Lives Matter and civil rights groups who said the 1033 program contributed heavily to the militarization of police on display during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.”

    What was the criticism?

    1. That Republican racists forced Obama to give all sorts of military equipment to police.

    2. What was the criticism?

      That not enough white people were being killed with those military weapons?

  6. In a Fraternal Order of Police presidential candidate survey released last month, Trump also pledged to rescind the executive order, calling it an “excellent program that enhances community safety.”

    Nothing enhances community safety like a flashbang to a toddler’s face.

    1. “Government is the name we give to the toddler’s faces we burn off with flashbangs together.”

    2. Seriously, WTF does Trump know about “community safety”? He’s been safely ensconced in his gold-plated towers and planes, surrounded by armed guards, his entire damn life. He has not actually had to interact with any “community” other than the NBC Studios community.

      1. He certainly knows about his safety: armed guards, towers, riding in helicopters above the hoi polloi


  8. Civilian police forces — and that’s what they are: civilians — should not be provided military-grade equipment.

    1. that’s what they are: civilians

      LOL, good one.

  9. Because when Trump ends the Drug War with the stroke of a pen and ushers in a new Golden Age, the police will beat their MRAP troop carriers into plowshares and murder no more.

    1. Because when Trump ends the Drug War with the stroke of a pen

      I can only assume he’ll do this by taking a page or chapter from Duterte’s playbook.

  10. Nerf the buffs, buff the nerfs, nerf the nerfs, buff the buffs.

    Some small landlords might opt to take units off the market and leave them empty, reducing supply. Although they wouldn’t have a rental income, they also wouldn’t face the city’s extra oversight.
    This is a problem in Vancouver, B.C. City Council could respond, of course, by putting a tax on unoccupied properties.
    “Small landlords will shift from Craigslist to private workplace social network, when threatened with (Seattle Office of Civil Rights) litigation the first time we decline a tenant who we objectively think does not belong in our home.”
    “As a small-time landlord for 20 plus years. If you get a bad tenant in your property, you have no rights and it’s a nightmare and very costly. This law will destroy the small-time, thoughtful landlord that doesn’t usually ask for top dollar rents for their properties.
    Big-time apartment buildings can hire all the people they need to take care of the City Of Seattle’s crazy ideas. The small-time landlords are the ones that are really going to be hurt by this new law.”

    The hits just keep on comin’.

    1. Seattle is the Derp Singularity.

      1. I used to be able to say, “At least we’re not San Francisco!”

        On a positive note, we may finally be the gayest city in America.

        1. The next time you are in trouble don’t expect Gay Batman to help you.

          1. You don’t EVEN want to know what’s in the utility belt.

            1. Lube, condoms, fag hag repellant spray, an extra Robin costume, spare batteries for his gaydar array, and cash money–because Gay Batman is no golddigger.

    2. Wait, they still use Craigslist?! I actually used it in Brooklyn about 8 years ago but I heard it was kind of sketchy a few years back when I had to move again so I threw my money away on a broker.

      1. That’s what I’ve always heard. I honestly don’t know what the small landlords use. But this is going to be a fun-time mass of unintentional derp, forcing landlords to rent to the first person coming through the door.

        1. I want to move again in a couple months so I checked Craigslist and yup there are some listings in my neighborhood, not as many as I would like but unlike 8 years ago there are at least pictures now.

        2. They put up for rent signs or put up flyers in the park. That or word of mouth type things.

      2. Ive had success with craigslist in the past. I use prefer zillow.

        1. Doesn’t zillow just refer you to agents/brokers? That’s what I thought I saw when I looked a year ago.

          1. For the most part u end up dealing with brokers unfortunately. This part of the country what are u gonna do.

            1. I figure this time I’m going to make them work for their outrageous fees. I know *exactly* what I want & they better have it.

              1. Lol stick it to those assholes please.

  11. The idea that Obama really ended this in the first place is pretty ridiculous. He banned “some,” and some of those items are simply more about appearances – camouflage clothing, for instance.

    Banned will be tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms, and large-caliber weapons and ammunition.

    “So we’re going to prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for local police departments,” Obama said. “There’s other equipment that may be needed in certain cases, but only with proper training.”

    That equipment will be placed on a “controlled equipment list” that includes aircraft, wheeled tactical vehicles, mobile command-and-control units, battering rams and riot gear.

    The Lightbringer saves the day

    So armored vehicles and M-4’s/M-16’s are still ok. They just can’t have grenade launchers and track vehicles. Who the fuck cares?

    1. Banned will be tracked armored vehicles,

      While I’m sure this would be something the Police dept. is disappointed they can’t have, so far, I haven’t seen any local PDs with them. it’s all MRAPs. Which, btw, in a real violent, popular uprising are super-easy to take out.

      1. +1 Molotov

  12. Both sides of this issue are window dressing.

  13. Do they really believe that one more MRAP would have stopped the Dallas shooter.

    1. Only if they had one of those 866 mine detecting kits in conjunction with an mrap then shooter could have been stopped.

  14. This is the primary reason I’ve not succumbed to The Donald’s wily charms. While this is clearly pandering, he has the potential to alienate some of his blue collar base with this shit. A lot of us in flyover country are not big fans of the ever expanding police state. Hopefully Johnson/Weld will be too busy battling climate change and creating FBI task forces to pander to these thugs. But maybe not. They never cease to amaze me.

  15. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. Im using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I do,


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