DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: If you’re going to wage war on drugs, you need to be outfitted like a warrior.
That seems to be the rationale behind hundreds of police department requests for armored trucks submitted to the Pentagon between 2012 and 2014. The requests, unearthed in a FOIA request by Mother Jones magazine, shed light on how the war on drugs has directly contributed to the militarization of local police forces in recent years.
Police departments can request surplus military gear from the Pentagon through the Department of Defense‘s 1033 program, which doles out hundreds of millions of dollars in military goods to cops each year. The equipment includes everything from underwear to office equipment to armored combat vehicles. After Ferguson, when images of local cops training assault rifles on peaceful protestors from atop armored trucks flooded the airwaves, the program has come under increasing scrutiny.