- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 28, 2014

The nation’s largest police group in the nation is heading a push on Capitol Hill to maintain law enforcement organizations’ access to and ownership of military castoffs.

The intense lobbying comes as law enforcement behavior in Ferguson, Missouri, has cast a national spotlight on the militarized police issue.

“We are the most vigorous law enforcement advocacy group and we intend to be at our most vigorous on this issue,” Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, told The Hill.

Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have expressed interest in curbing the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which transfers battlefield gear such as uniforms, armored vehicles, weaponry and office equipment to local police departments.

Police organizations worry that Congress might overlook them in a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown up for vote next month.

The American Civil Liberties Union reports that the Department of Defense has transferred $4.3 billion worth of equipment to police departments since the program’s inception in the mid-1990s, nearly $500 million in 2013 alone.