“We are pleased to report that we had a productive, expansive and very encouraging meeting with Secretary Hagel this evening regarding our urgent concerns about the militarization of local law enforcement agencies through the distribution of surplus Department of Defense equipment via the 1033 Program. We have asked the Secretary to review the program and to respond with his recommendations quickly.
The discussion allowed us to share our objections, and those of our constituents, who are seeking a vigorous review of the existing 1033 program and some important changes to ensure public safety and the preservation of fundamental constitutional rights.
That includes the right to assemble and peacefully protest without the unacceptable threat of an overbearing police response which targets law-abiding citizens with military weapons and technology.
If there is any good that can come out of the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri, our hope is that this effort will spur a national discussion about how to achieve a fundamental shift in local law enforcement, away from military-style responses, and towards a more community-based policy.”
Photo attached, courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense, Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt.