from the surely-you-can-trust-a-few-thousand-cops? dept
The Pentagon’s 1033 program is a case study in unintended consequences. The idea — put military equipment back into service rather than simply scrapping it — has some merit. The actual deployment has been a nightmare.
The Dept. of Defense wondered who could possibly make use of military weapons, armor and vehicles, and came to an almost-logical conclusion. Law enforcement agencies became the military’s little brother, taking ownership of cheap/free hand-me-downs and putting them to use in the War at Home.
Of course, a militaristic mindset evolved to match the acquired gear. Police departments became armies and citizens, combatants. Worse, the program was badly mismanaged and subject to very little oversight. The DoD had no idea how much equipment it had dispensed and the agencies on the receiving end weren’t much better at tracking their own inventories.
Shawn Musgrave has obtained two mostly-depressing spreadsheets from the Dept. of Defense listing law enforcement agencies which are currently suspended from the program, or have been in the past. He sent this “expedited request” during the Ferguson fallout, during which the DOJ itself expressed concern about the military aura the local PD projected. Not that the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency cared about the timeliness of its response. 14 months after issuing his “please hurry” request, the DLA has finally responded.
The lists contain plenty of suspensions for lost weapons, which possibly means military-grade weapons are in the hands of private citizens. The lists also contain intriguing redactions and a few moments of WTF-ness.
For instance, an Arkansas county coroner’s office is participating in the program for reasons unknown. It could be that it only used the program to obtain harmless office equipment, but if so, it seems these sorts of acquisitions — no matter how badly handled or poorly inventoried — would not result in a suspension. The question of why it was suspended remains unanswered.
Reason can not be released at this per State Coordinators request.
And the state of North Carolina appears to have gone rogue. Among the many agencies listed as “terminated” by the DLA is the state’s Parks and Recreation department.
North Dakota is possibly headed for a bloodbath, seeing as its Highway Patrol has misplaced a street gang’s-worth of weapons.
DURING PCR ON JULY 23, 2013, 159 WEAPONS WERE UNABLE TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR BY A SIGNED CUSTODY RECEIPT
And one wonders how this sort of situation arises, considering the logistics required to make it happen in the first place. (Richland County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina)
Misappropriation of aircraft
The list of agencies no longer suspended from the program isn’t exactly heartening. The Searcy (AR) Police Dept. is back in the DLA’s good graces despite the ATF serving a search warrant for its (former) police chief.
And we discover that the Richland County Sheriff’s Office isn’t the only South Carolina agency to abuse 1033 aircraft.
Many of those on the “Unsuspended” list have never recovered weapons they reported as lost or stolen, but have been designated by the Office of the Inspector General as “cold cases.” Once the trail goes dead, so does the suspension, apparently.
In other oddities, it appears the entire state of Montana took a year off from performing required 1033 inventories and the nation’s biggest, baddest police force — the NYPD — faced (briefly) the threat of termination for reasons not detailed in the responsive documents.
So, in other words, it’s business as usual for the 1033 program. Even those “responsibly” partaking in the program are loading up with military gear which they then deploy against
combatants citizens in war zones their communities.