Washington D.C. Ordinance Limits Federal Militarization of Local Police

Last week, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed an ordinance that bans the D.C. police department from acquiring certain military-grade equipment from the federal government.

Titled the “Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Second Emergency Amendment Act of 2020” the ordinance makes multiple reforms and changes to Washington D.C. Police Department policy. Among the reforms, the new law bans the D.C.P.D. from acquiring any of the following equipment from “any program operated by the federal government.”

(1) Ammunition of .50 caliber or higher;
(2) Armed or armored aircraft or vehicles;
(3) Bayonets;
(4) Explosives or pyrotechnics, including grenades;
(5) Firearm mufflers or silencers;
(6) Firearms of .50 caliber or higher;
(7) Firearms, firearm accessories, or other objects, designed or capable of
launching explosives or pyrotechnics, including grenade launchers; and
(8) Remotely piloted, powered aircraft without a crew aboard, including drones.

The new law also includes provisions that will increase transparency. D.C. police are now required to publish a public notice within 14 days of requesting any allowable military equipment from a federal program.

The D.C. City Council approved the ordinance unanimously….

The ordinance applies both to the well-known 1033 program, along with any other military surplus program operated by the federal government.

While passage the ordinance won’t end the militarization of local cops in D.C., it will keep some dangerous weapons out of the hands of police officers and set the stage for further limits in the future.

Police departments often obtain military and surveillance equipment from the federal government in complete secrecy. Requiring public disclosure of all requests for military gear brings the process into the open and provides an opportunity for concerned residents to stop the acquisition through their local representatives….


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