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Schatz Legislation To Provide More Transparency, Accountability To Police Department Purchases Of Military Equipment Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON – Last month, President Joe Biden signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. The new law includes a provision authored by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) that will provide more transparency and accountability on the sale of military equipment to local police departments across the country.

“In order to demilitarize the police, the public must know which police departments are getting military equipment and what kinds of weapons they are buying,” said Senator Schatz. “Our new law will finally provide some transparency and accountability to the military weapons purchase program.”

Currently, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) program allowing law enforcement agencies to buy military equipment, known as the “1122 program,” does not require any public disclosures on purchases. The Schatz provision will require DoD and the General Services Administration to submit an annual report to Congress about the equipment sold to state and local law enforcement under the 1122 program.

Since joining the Senate, Schatz has led efforts to reform the criminal justice system and demilitarize the police. In 2020, Senator Schatz forced a series of votes on amendments to the NDAA to update the 1033 program, which helped enact a ban on the transfer of certain military weapons to state and local law enforcement agencies. In February, Schatz led a group of senators in calling on President Biden to step up efforts demilitarize the police, citing reports showing that police militarization fails to reduce rates of violent crime or change the number of officers assaulted or killed.