Schatz, Paul Introduce the Stop Militarizing Our Law Enforcement Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rand Paul (R-KY) today introduced the Stop Militarizing Our Law Enforcement Act of 2015. This bipartisan legislation will establish limitations and create greater transparency on the transfer of surplus military-grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies. The bill will prohibit the federal transfer of militarized equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies including, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, drones and armored vehicles transferred through the U.S. Department of Defense’s 1033, U.S. Department of Justice’s Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Grant programs. This prohibition only applies to offensive equipment and does not prohibit the transfer of defensive equipment, such as body armor.
The Stop Militarizing Our Law Enforcement Act will also help increase the transparency and accountability of these programs by requiring the Defense Logistics Agency to create a website that displays all of the property transferred under the 1033 program and the state and local agencies who have received the equipment. Furthermore, the Government Accountability Office will be required to analyze the use of military-style training and equipment by all federal agencies, including the usefulness and justification for the use of such equipment.
“As a nation, we were shocked by images of police responding to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, outfitted as if going to war. As we rebuild the trust between communities and the police, we have to address the role that the federal government has played in supplying law enforcement with battlefield equipment. Our bill would ban the transfer of certain equipment and put safeguards in place to ensure that federal funds are used appropriately,” Senator Schatz said.
“Not surprisingly, big government in Washington has created an incentivized system in which local law enforcement is provided mass amounts of equipment to build up forces that resemble small armies. By putting these restrictions on the current transfer programs, we can eliminate the wasteful spending these programs have created and stop the militarization of our police forces,” Senator Paul said.