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City Councilors Introduce Legislation Prohibiting APD from Receiving Military Equipment

Council President Pat Davis and Councilor Lan Sena’s legislation would formally end participation in federal 1033 military surplus for local law enforcement use program.

June 8, 2020

City Council President Pat Davis and Councilor Lan Sena have introduced new legislation formally ending the City’s participation in the controversial federal 1033 military surplus for local law enforcement use program.

According to the US Department of Defense, the program has provided more than $7.8 billion in military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Albuquerque Police.

The program was significantly curtailed by executive order by President Obama in 2015 and APD has not received any equipment under the program since 2015; but, President Trump rescinded that order in 2017, making military equipment available for local agencies again.

The use of military grade equipment has not been shown to greatly reduce crime, but departments who possess such equipment have been shown to commit increased acts of police violence.

“The use of military equipment on Albuquerque’s streets does not make us safer or lower crime,” says Councilor Pat Davis. “This equipment is not free. When cities accept it, they are required to use it within the first year and the agency must pay for upkeep.  That’s money we should be investing in community building, not militarization of law enforcement.

“Ending our participation in this program is an important first step, but it is not the only change we need to make. We want to have more conversations with the community about the next ones.”

Councilor Lan Sena remarked, “This proposed resolution is a step in the right direction of demilitarizing the police department. No equipment that has been used on the battlefield should be seen on our streets. Militarization of our police does not increase safety but further harms our communities.”

Mayor Tim Keller said, “Under our administration, APD has not received military-style equipment or weapons from this program. Their use is also out of step with our values around community safety. We fully support a formal end to Albuquerque’s participation.”

The legislation, R-20-65, will be formally introduced at the Council’s next meeting on Monday June 15th, then held over for final action at the next meeting of the Council, currently expected for June 29th.