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Alabama law enforcement suspended from Federal police militarization program

Armored personnel carrier given to the Troy, Ala., SWAT Team by the Dept. of Homeland Security (Photo: Facebook)
Armored personnel carrier given to the Troy, Ala., SWAT Team by the Dept. of Homeland Security (Photo: Facebook)

One day after Yellowhammer reported the proliferation of former military equipment to local Alabama law enforcement agencies, Huntsville TV station WAFF has discovered that the State of Alabama has been suspended from the federal program that allocates the gear.

Congress’s “1033″ program, which has been around for a couple of decades, allows for the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies. According to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, “over 8,000 federal and state law enforcement agencies from all 50 states and the U.S. territories participate in the program,” including dozens of Alabama departments.

Local law enforcement agencies in the Yellowhammer State have received millions of dollars in equipment, including aircraft, assault rifles, armored vehicles, body armor, grenade launchers and more.

But according the WAFF, the federal government suspended Alabama from the program in March “after ‘accountability issues’ and ‘paperwork issues’ with multiple Alabama law enforcement agencies were discovered.”

Shane Bailey, Alabama’s 1033 program state coordinator, told WAFF that numerous departments across the state failed to file or keep up with the paperwork required by the program.

Bailey’s office is now conducting department audits, although no equipment is missing at this time.

According to Bailey, federal officials also came to Alabama earlier this month to conduct an investigation of the Alabama departments’ usage of the 1033 program. The results of the investigation have not yet been released.

Although the militarization of America’s local police forces has become a hot-button issue lately, Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin pointed out that the equipment is extremely useful in disaster response efforts. Franklin’s department has received $2 million worth of equipment from Program 1033 since the Alabama tornado outbreak in 2011.

“Without the program, Franklin said her department could not afford any of it because of a dwindling budget,” wrote WAFF’s Nick Lough.

Using data gleaned from Pentagon documents by the Times, here are 6 graphics that show what former military equipment has been received by local law enforcement agencies in each Alabama county since 2006.







(This article was updated to say that the Morgan County Sheriffs Department requested and received gear after the 2011 tornado outbreak. It initially said Morgan County used the gear for their disaster response efforts.)

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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