Dear Senators McConnell and Schumer,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our opposition to S. Amdt. 2252, which will be offered to S. 4049, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.” The FOP urges members of the Senate to vote against this amendment, which would impose sweeping restrictions on an important surplus equipment program for State and local law enforcement agencies.
The FOP has long supported the 1033 program, which is a surplus equipment program administered by the Defense Logistics Agencies (DLA) and the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).
The media is constructing an inaccurate narrative that State and local law enforcement agencies are becoming too “militarized” simply because this program is administered by the DoD. It is important for Senators to understand that equipment received through the 1033 program is demilitarized and repurposed for public safety use. Simply because a piece of equipment was originally purchased–with our tax dollars–by the DoD does not make it military equipment. A tool is defined by its use. The equipment is used to defend and protect officers and civilians from threats and to carry out law enforcement and public safety objectives.
There is no data, studies, or other information to support the contention that State and local law enforcement agencies are misusing equipment obtained through these Federal grant programs. For this reason, on behalf of the more than 354,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we urge members of the Senate to vote against this amendment. If I can provide any additional information on this issue, please feel free to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington office.
National President – Fraternal Order of Police