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Law enforcement agencies’ participation in the military surplus equipment program

Thomas C. Johnson (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA)
J. Andrew Hansen (Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 21 November 2016

729

Abstract

Purpose

The police response to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri refocused attention on law enforcement agencies’ participation in the military surplus equipment program, or 1,033 Program. Given the extensive media coverage, particularly regarding the acquisition of military vehicles and weapons, it is important to empirically investigate the 1,033 Program. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 1,205 law enforcement regarding 1,033 Program participation and the types of equipment acquired. This study also explores whether significant differences exist by region, agency type, and size.

Findings

The results demonstrated that while a majority of state and local law enforcement agencies participated in the 1,033 Program, a significant number of agencies did not. Acquisition of military surplus weapons, vehicles, and other types of equipment was not the norm. Significant differences were discerned for overall participation and equipment acquisition based on region, agency type, and size.

Research limitations/implications

This study does not address other concerns such as how surplus military equipment is used or policies agencies may have to govern that use, which provide avenues for further research to discern best practices.

Practical implications

Law enforcement agencies do not appear to acquire military vehicles and weapons to the extent that has been dramatized by the media.

Originality/value

This study contributes empirical data to inform the discussion of law enforcement agencies’ acquisition of military surplus equipment in the USA.

Keywords

Citation

Johnson, T.C. and Hansen, J.A. (2016), "Law enforcement agencies’ participation in the military surplus equipment program", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 791-806. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-03-2016-0035

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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