Texas 1033 : a look inside the federal program giving millions in excess military supplies to Texas law enforcement agencies at taxpayer expense

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2014-05

Authors

Molina, Eva Lorraine

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Abstract

This report is a fact-based, data-driven journalistic presentation of how the 1033 military surplus program operates in Texas. The program transfers excess U.S. Department of Defense supplies to federal, state and local law enforcement at little to no cost to the agencies. Congress created the surplus program in the 1990s to repurpose taxpayer-bought equipment. Supplies available to agencies range from clothes to electronics to weapons and armored vehicles. Initially, only agencies with an anti-drug and counterterrorism mission participated. After 9/11 and the War on Terror, the equipment surplus grew, and the program expanded. Today, the 1033 is a multi-billion dollar surplus program that has transferred an estimated $4.2 billion worth of equipment to more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies throughout the country. In Texas, more than 700 agencies are currently participating in the program. They have received $181.99 million in equipment between 2006 and 2013. An in-depth look into the 1033 program--specifically in Texas--found that it lacks adequate oversight at both the federal and state levels and has suffered from abuse. Some of the program's critics say its mass distribution of weapons and armored vehicles contributes to police militarization. The content in this report was produced using information gathered from federal and state documents, various publications, news reports and numerous interviews. The tables, figures, illustrations and story show the types of military supplies available through the program, how many items Texas agencies have received, how much it costs and how some local police departments are using the program.

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