TRENTON – Senator Nia H. Gill issued the following statement on action taken today by President Obama to rein in the use of military equipment by law enforcement. Senator Gill was the sponsor of a law (S2363) signed in March to increase transparency and oversight of the federal Department of Defense 1033 program in New Jersey, the program which provides for the transfer of surplus military equipment from the federal government to local law enforcement agencies. The law – the first of its kind in the nation – requires local governments to approve by resolution the acquisition of military equipment by local law enforcement agencies.
“Incidents across the country shined a light on the potential for police departments to obtain weapons of war. We took action in our state to provide transparency and oversight of the process, requiring local governments to approve the acquisition of any military equipment. I commend the President’s action today to ban the use of grenade launchers and other combat weapons and to create clear policies for obtaining other military gear. The new rules, which include requiring departments to demonstrate a need for certain equipment and to obtain local approval, are the right thing to do.
“For years, police departments across the state – and the country – acquired surplus military equipment from the federal program without the public’s knowledge. The President’s action is one more step in the effort to protect residents, and to promote community policing in our towns and cities rather than militarized enforcement. I applaud him for this effort.”