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The police in the United States have been steadily militarized over the past decade to the point of absurdity, as recently exemplified by police rolling out an armored personnel carrier (APC) to the Occupy Tampa protests.
Benjamin Carlson of The Daily covered one of the more unsettling recent developments in this militarization of police, the Department of Defense’s obscure “1033 program” which has given away almost $500 million in leftover military equipment to law enforcement in the fiscal year of 2011.
This year’s total is more than double the amount of equipment handed out in 2010, which was $212 million worth of military gear, setting a new record for the program.
Included in this distribution of military equipment are: armored vehicles, like the one seen at Occupy Tampa and in towns and cities across the nation, along with M-16 assault rifles, grenade launchers, helicopters and even military robots.
Yet the 1033 program looks like it is getting even worse, with orders for the fiscal year 2012 being up 400% over the same period in 2011 according to data provided by the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency to The Daily.
If it keeps at this pace, that would mean $2 billion in equipment for American police departments in the fiscal year 2012.