Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Rep. Tammy Duckworth Responds To My Letter Regarding Military Force By Law Enforcement


March 11, 2015
 
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Thank you for contacting me in regards to the use of Military force by law enforcement. I appreciate you taking the time to make me aware of your concerns on this important matter. 
Like you, I was shocked to see the scenes that unfolded after the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Reports of police brutality against protestors and journalists and sights of a Suburban American town resembling a war zone were unacceptable. That is why I was glad to see President Obama announce that his administration would be reviewing the 1033 program which was responsible for the heavily armed response.
This program, enacted by Congress in 1990, provides local law enforcement agencies with excess military equipment. Since its reauthorization, over 8,000 law enforcement groups in all 50 states have been beneficiaries of the program. This has included firefighting equipment and ambulances to small municipalities that otherwise couldn't afford them. Though I understand that in some circumstances this equipment can help law enforcement respond to emergencies and help fill gaps for cash-strapped law enforcement agencies, Ferguson was a reminder that it can be very dangerous if misused.
The House Armed Services Committee, of which I am a member, is currently planning a hearing on the 1033 program. I look forward to having the opportunity to ask questions and voice my concerns about the current state of the program and the militarization of police.
In addition to reviewing the 1033 program, more needs to be done to reestablish the confidence of law enforcement within their communities. That is why I recently sent at a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to provide federal assistance for the use of body cameras by law enforcement agencies. In pilot programs around the country the use of cameras has been shown to reduce excessive force complaints and increase the trust of the public in their police departments.
I believe that the relationship between police and the community they serve should be one of trust and support. As we await the President's review of the 1033 program and continue to debate this critical issue in Congress, rest assured that I will keep in mind our shared concern about the militarization of police.
Thank you for your interest in this critical issue. Please stay in touch by visiting my website at www.duckworth.house.gov, where you can sign up for my email list, access my voting record and get additional information on important issues facing our country. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely, 
The Honorable Tammy DuckworthMember of Congress
Illinois' 8th District