Dear Madam Speaker and Representative McCarthy,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong opposition to Amendment #361 offered by Representative Henry C. Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), to H.R. 7900, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023.” The amendment would insert the text of H.R. 5478, the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act,” into H.R. 7900 and we urge the Members of the House to reject it.
The FOP has long supported the 1033 program, which is a surplus equipment program administered by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It is important 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 like hostage situations, search and rescue missions, and disaster response. Further, there is no data, study, or other information to support any contention that State and local law enforcement agencies are misusing equipment obtained through this program.
Finally, President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety addresses the 1033 and similar property transfer programs in a comprehensive way. In Section 12 of his order, President Biden provides for a review of these programs, restricts a narrow category of property transfers, and provides for better reporting and transparency. Representative Johnson’s amendment would undo the collaborative approach taken by President Biden, who consulted with the FOP while drafting Section 12.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, thank you for considering our views on this issue. If I can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.