From the Pentagon to the Police: The 1033 Project
Police in Newnan, Georgia had received close to a million dollars in military equipment from the Pentagon
This weekend, images of a heavily-armed law enforcement presence at a white supremacist rally and counter-protest in Newnan, Georgia again brought the issue of growing police militarization to the forefront. A review of records originally released as part of Shawn Musgrave’s project to track the Pentagon’s transfers of military equipment to local police departments through the infamous 1033 program show that not only did the NPD receive close to a million dollars in gear from the program but also non-lethal ordinance specifically intended for use as crowd control.
Through the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, police departments are eligible to receive secondhand supplies once used by the U.S. military. Among the participating agencies are those hired by public educational institutions – state colleges, universities, and K-12 school districts. Some of these items are pretty standard, some are frightening to think about, and some are pretty difficult to make sense of. Below are a few of the latter.
Today, the Obama administration announced an immediate ban on certain types of military equipment transfers to local police. However, it’s unclear what that means for ordnance the police may already posses - thanks to an earlier collaboration with The Marshall Project, you can find out if your local law enforcement agencies have any of the restricted gear.
The North Carolina Attorney General has spoken: the state must, in fact, release data detailing which police departments received excess military equipment. The ruling reverses the position taken by state public safety officials that disclosing this information would be akin to publishing a blueprint for scofflaws.
In late November, with no formal public announcement, the Pentagon released the spreadsheet we’ve been requesting for more than a year. Here’s how we made it happen.
You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department’s surplus equipment program. You probably have not heard about some of the more obscure beneficiaries of the Pentagon giveaway.
The Defense Logistics Agency feels that releasing police military equipment transfer data is a safety risk. A majority of states disagree.
Only a handful of states outright refused to provide spreadsheets on assault rifles, armored vehicles, and other decommissioned military equipment transferred to police by the Pentagon. But the Defense Logistics Agency vaguely claims that releasing the same data would be dangerous.
As we mentioned last week, Massachusetts was one of just thirteen states to refuse to release data on military equipment transfers to local police. While we’re still in the process of appealing their refusal to release their inventory forms, the Massachusetts State Police have changed their tactic for similar requests related to the 1033 program, and are now asking for almost $600 for their release.
The majority of states — 37 to date — have released spreadsheets indicating which police departments received weapons, armored vehicles and other military equipment via the Pentagon’s 1033 program. But six states rejected MuckRock’s request outright, plus another six say they don’t them … and then Louisiana wants $5,000 to print them out.
Combined, New York law enforcement agencies have received nearly 300 assault rifles via the 1033 program, plus three fully tracked armored vehicles, two cargo planes, six helicopters, eight bomb robots and more than 150 military trucks and Humvees.
While almost seventy percent of states have turned over the agency-by-agency data, Massachusetts is in the sad minority of holdouts - leaving several huge items unaccounted for.
The California Office of Emergency Services today released an inventory of equipment received by state and local law enforcement via the Pentagon’s 1033 program. A handful of school district police departments participate in the program, including the Los Angeles School Police Departments, which has received more than 50 assault rifles, three grenade launchers and a mine resistant vehicle.
We’ve submitted a FOI request in each state for a detailed breakdown of military equipment transferred to local police departments. We’ve gotten back 26 so far, including Florida, Missouri, and the sleepy hamlet of Cut and Shoot, Texas.
MuckRock is pushing the Defense Department to release agency-by-agency data on the 1033 program, which transfers excess property from the military to state and local law enforcement nationwide. In the meantime, we’ve obtained via FOIA a complete roster of all participating agencies as well as transfer data down to the state level.
Shawn Musgrave sent this request to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs of Alabama
Shawn Musgrave sent this request to the Department of Career Education, Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) of Arkansas
Shawn Musgrave sent this request to the Division of Administration, Lousiana Federal Property Assistance Agency of Louisiana
Shawn Musgrave sent this request to the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management of Minnesota
Shawn Musgrave sent this request to the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration of Mississippi
Shawn Musgrave sent this request to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services of New York
Shawn Musgrave sent this request to the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information of Wyoming