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Wednesday, March 3, 2021
LAW ENFORCEMENT SUPPORT OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -- LOANING RETIRED MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO POLICE ORGANIZATIONS LIKE JOPLIN POLICE
[REFERENCE ARTICLE JOPLIN NEWS FIRST. SOURCE WIKI]
Law Enforcement Support Office
The Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) is a division of DLA Disposition Services, a subordinate command of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in the United States. LESO is responsible for operating the 1033 Program or LESO Program, which transfers excess military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies. The program legally requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to make various items of equipment available to local law enforcement. The modern program arose during the H. W. Bush administration, in Section 1208 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991,[a] which allowed surplus DOD equipment, weapons, and tactical vehicles to be transferred to law enforcement for use in drug enforcement. During the Clinton administration, usage was expanded into other areas, including counter-terrorism. Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997[b] amended to allow the military to transfer "property... including small arms and ammunition... suitable for use by the agencies in law enforcement activities, including counter-drug and counter-terrorism activities". Precedent legislation of the same concept has existed since the end of World War II.
As of 2020, 8,200 local law enforcement agencies participated in the program that has transferred $5.1 billion in military material from DOD to law enforcement agencies since 1997. According to the DLA, material worth $449 million was transferred in 2013 alone. Some of the most commonly requested items include ammunition, cold weather clothing, sand bags, medical supplies, sleeping bags, flashlights and electrical wiring. Small arms and vehicles such as aircraft, watercraft, and armored vehicles have also been obtained.
The program has been criticized over the years by local media, by the DOD Inspector General in 2003, and by the GAO which found waste, fraud, and abuse. It was not until media coverage of police during the 2014 Ferguson unrest that the program drew nationwide public attention; the Ferguson Police Department had used equipment obtained through the 1033 Program. The ACLU and the NAACP have raised concerns about what they call the militarization of police forces in the United States.
President Obama signed Executive Order 13688 in May 2015 limiting and prohibiting certain types of equipment; On 28 August 2017, President Trump rolled back the Executive Order. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the move at the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) convention in Nashville, and said the president would do so by executive order. At the same time, Sessions and the director of the FOP pointed out that equipment obtained through the program can be used for lifesaving purposes, dismissing criticism of the program as "superficial concerns". The FOP also pointed out that the armored vehicles were not tanks.
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