For more than two decades, local and state law enforcement agencies have been acquiring millions of dollars worth of decommissioned and surplus military equipment and gear.
That was until the Obama administration in 2015 halted the transfer of certain items like armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms. Obama’s executive order followed racially-charged unrest in Ferguson, Mo., which heightened concern about the militarization of police.
On Monday, the Trump administration rolled back Obama’s restrictions of the so-called 1033 program.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the reason for the reversal was to ensure police agencies “get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence and lawlessness to become a new normal."
That means the handful of Georgia agencies with requests pending for Humvees could see their proposals approved.
In Georgia, agencies large and small – from Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office in northwest Georgia to the Waycross Police Department at the Florida line – have received items valued at more than $61 million since 1993. They include things like Humvees, boots and flashlights.
Georgia became part of the national debate on militarized police in 2014 after a Habersham County toddler was maimed when a SWAT team executing a no-knock warrant tossed a “flash bang” grenade into a darkened room and it landed in the child’s bed.