Senate Will Review Military Transfers To Local Police, Key Senator Says

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senate Armed Services Chair Carl Levin (D-MI) said Friday the chamber “will review” the so-called 1033 program under which the Pentagon transfers surplus military equipment to local law enforcement.

“Congress established this program out of real concern that local law enforcement agencies were literally outgunned by drug criminals. We intended this equipment to keep police officers and their communities safe from heavily armed drug gangs and terrorist incidents. Before the defense authorization bill comes to the Senate floor, we will review this program to determine if equipment provided by the Defense Department is being used as intended,” Levin said.

His statement comes amid a national outcry over images of a militarized police force in Ferguson cracking down on civilians protesting the police shooting an unarmed 18-year-old black man last Saturday. On Thursday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduced legislation to prohibit Pentagon transfers of certain military-grade equipment to local law enforcement.

Levin will step down in January; he isn’t seeking reelection.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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