By Bobby Trice –
Weapons of war do not belong in our communities, yet the Pentagon’s underregulated 1033 program brings them into neighborhoods across the country.
From 2006-2014, law enforcement agencies in Buncombe County received 74 military articles through the 1033 program including assault rifles, a grenade launcher, and an armored vehicle.
Recent research has demonstrated a link between 1033 equipment receipts and violent police-community interactions. Another study found that the use of militarized SWAT units failed to significantly reduce crime but did engender negative public perceptions of law enforcement. The ACLU found that more than half of SWAT encounters impact people of color, often resulting in the loss of innocent life. We do not need these weapons in our communities as they foment distrust, detriment public safety, and disproportionately impact communities of color at alarming rates.
As a Quaker and a Buncombe County constituent, I believe in peace, community, and equality under our democracy. I urge Representative McHenry, Senator Burr, and Senator Tillis to improve community-police relations and public safety for all by co-sponsoring H.R. 1556/S. 1856 the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act. This legislation would introduce limits and oversight measures for the 1033 program, keeping all of our communities safer.