Cops with the most military gear kill the most civilians

Police departments that get more equipment from the military kill more civilians than departments that get less military gear. That’s the finding from research on a federal program that has operated since 1997…

This federal effort is called the “1033 Program.” It’s named after the section of the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act that allows the U.S. Defense Department to give police agencies around the country equipment, including weapons and ammunition, that the military no longer needs.

…Militarization of police doesn’t reduce crime or improve officer safety – but it does make civilians less trusting of the police, with good reason.

In our study, my coauthors and I found that the police agencies who received the most military gear had, in the year after getting the equipment, a rate of civilian killings more than double that of police departments that had received the least amount of military equipment through the 1033 Program. While data limitations limited our analysis to four states, our findings were replicated with nationwide data.

If you own this crap you’re going to use it whether justified or not. Often true of our military. At least as true for our police departments.

Oh, in case you never noticed. Companies looking for more sales of military hardware can afford a lot more lobbying and kickbacks than the folks producing, say, schoolbooks.

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