Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) plans to hold hearings related to the militarization of the police following the situation that developed in Ferguson, MO.
As Chairwoman of a subcommittee of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, McCaskill is positioned to take a close look at the Department of Defense’s 1033 program. The 1033 program has transferred billions of dollars worth of equipment from the DoD and Homeland Security to local and state police forces.
McCaskill spoke out about police militarization recently:
We need to de-militarize this situation — this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution. I obviously respect law enforcement’s work to provide public safety, but my constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right.
Barack Obama has ordered a review of the 1033 program. As he said:
I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars, to make sure that what they’re purchasing is stuff that they actually need, because there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement and we don’t want those lines blurred. And I think that there will be some bipartisan interest in reexamining some of those programs.
What should be done? Should police continue to receive military equipment paid for with federal dollars? Or should the 1033 program be more closely supervised or abolished?
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Photo credit: Senator Claire McCaskill (Flickr)