Image from 1033 Program' via Wikimedia.
Do you feel safer knowing that your local police force has an anti-tank missile carrier?
Many people are saying that police forces are looking less like local units designed to serve and protect and more like an occupying military force. Others believe that as terrorists and dangerous criminals become more sophisticated, such high-tech gear is necessary. The debate over police militarization ramped up recently after the use of a robot that delivered explosives killing Micah Johnson, the shooter who killed five police officers and wounded several others in Dallas last week.
Law enforcement units across the country are investing in weapons, vehicles and equipment designed for overseas military operations.
The source of much of this gear is 1033, a secretive Pentagon program that distributes surplus military gear to law enforcement units throughout the country: sherrif's departments, municipal police, even campus police and local fish and wildlife units. Through 1033, law enforcement units can request basic equipment such as computers, but also automatic weapons, armored vehicles, aircraft, and robots like the one used to kill Micah Johnson.
Use this nifty search tool to find what military equipment has been funneled to a law enforcement unit near you:
The interactive tool was created by the Marshall Project, a non-profit news organization that covers criminal justice issues throughout the United States.
Tanner Jean-Louise is social media intern with The Progressive magazine.