Militarizing Local Police Since 1997

Who knew this was going on?

Through its little-known “1033 program,” the Department of Defense gave away nearly $500 million worth of leftover military gear to law enforcement in fiscal year 2011 — a new record for the program and a dramatic rise over past years’ totals, including the $212 million in equipment distributed in 2010. [...]

Passed by Congress in 1997, the 1033 program was created to provide law-enforcement agencies with tools to fight drugs and terrorism. Since then, more than 17,000 agencies have taken in $2.6 billion worth of equipment for nearly free, paying only the cost of delivery.

The Cobb County Georgia police force has its own amphibious vehicle. Cobb County is hardly a municipality loaded with crime -- it's very well-educated and affluent. So why the heavy machinery?

In Minnesota, the Washington County sheriff's department, "received grants to buy a 3-foot-tall, $70,000 robot and a $75,000 riverboat." A robot?

Of course the program seriously ramped up after 9/11.

I swear, every time I read shit like this, I can't help but to think the terrorists won. We're a nation of Barney Fifes with shoulder-mounted grenade launchers stashed under our tear-stained pillows.