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Following Calls For Reform From Schatz, Key Provision To Begin Improving 1033 Program Included In NDAA

Schatz Forced Bipartisan Vote On Amendments To Reform 1033 Program Despite Republican Objections; NDAA Expected To Pass Congress And Be Signed Into Law In Coming Weeks

WASHINGTON – Bipartisan congressional leaders today announced that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes 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 U.S. Senator 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.

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

Senator 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 track combat vehicles, and weaponized drones. It will also 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.