Trump Restores Flow of Military Surplus to Police Departments

The federal giveaway of armored vehicles, riot gear and rifles was sharply curtailed by the Obama administration after Americans were shocked by the police show of force amid riots in Ferguson, Mo. Police unions asked for restoration of the program, and Trump will comply.

President Donald Trump plans to resume the transfer of surplus weapons, vehicles and other equipment from the nation’s military to state and local law enforcement agencies, reviving a program which was sharply curtailed by President Barack Obama two years ago, reports the Washington Post. The program launched in 1990 but was greatly limited after public reaction to images of heavily militarized police in the streets of Ferguson, Mo., and other sites of civil unrest. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was expected to announce the move Monday at the Fraternal Order of Police convention in Nashville. The police union has lobbied for the restoration of the program, and Trump said he would do so during his campaign.

The transfer of extra weapons and gear from the Defense Department occurred through the 1033 Program created by Congress in 1990, originally for use in drug enforcement by federal and state law enforcement. But in 1997, the program was expanded to include all law enforcement agencies. The White House said the 1033 program had resulted in the transfer of more than $5.4 billion worth of surplus military equipment to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, to include armored vehicles, riot gear, rifles, ammunition and computers that had been scrapped by the Defense Department. Police paid nothing more than transportation or shipping costs to get the equipment.