Madison Common Council limits MPD’s use of military surplus program

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 7:41 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Police Department’s use of a federal military surplus program has been limited by the Madison Common Council following a Tuesday evening meeting.

The National Defense Authorization Act’s 1033 program outfits thousands of police departments nationwide with military surplus items for only the cost of shipping. Some members of the public criticized the program for its militarization of police departments, while others believe limiting the use of the program will do more harm than good.

“It would greatly limit ways to effectively and safely resolve incidents where subjects are harmed, combative or actively resisting,” Michael Malloy, an officer with MPD, said at the meeting.

In a 13-6 decision, the new ordinance passed.

Under the ordinance MPD is prohibited from obtaining tear gas, bayonets, grenade launchers, grenades and explosives, armor-piercing firearms and ammunition, tracked combat vehicles and weaponized drones from the 1033 program.

Further, MPD is prohibited from using any individual item valued over $50,000 without first obtaining approval from the Common Council. MPD must also provide a bi-annual report to the Common Council of all property received from the program.

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