We all know that police departments across the country are becoming more and more militarized, as if expecting attacks from a domestic version of the Taliban. But the amount of hardware moving from the Pentagon to the police is even greater than you might have thought, according to Business Insider:
Benjamin Carlson at The Daily reports on a little known endeavor called the “1033 Program” that gave more than $500 million of military gear to U.S. police forces in 2011 alone.
1033 was passed by Congress in 1997 to help law-enforcement fight terrorism and drugs, but despite a 40-year low in violent crime, police are snapping up hardware like never before. While this year’s staggering take topped the charts, next year’s orders are up 400 percent over the same period.
This upswing coincides with an increasingly military-like style of law enforcement most recently seen in the Occupy Wall Street crackdowns.
Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute’s project on criminal justice told The Daily, “The trend toward militarization was well under way before 9/11, but it’s the federal policy of making surplus military equipment available almost for free that has poured fuel on this fire.”