Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Is There a 1033 Effect? Police Militarization and Aggressive Policing

Ajilore, Olugbenga (2017): Is There a 1033 Effect? Police Militarization and Aggressive Policing.

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Abstract

Events in Ferguson and Baltimore in the United States in the past 3 years have brought to light issues related to the militarization of police and adverse police–citizen interactions. Through federal programs and grants, local law enforcement agencies have been able to acquire surplus military items to combat terrorism and drug activity. The acquisition of these items has accelerated over the past 10 years. These agencies acquired nearly $1 billion worth of property in 2014 alone through the Pentagon’s 1033 Program, a program that distributes excess military surplus to law enforcement agencies. This study seeks to determine whether the increased acquisition of these items has led to more police use-of-force incidents. We create a dataset merging administrative data from the Pentagon’s 1033 Program database and survey data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Using a binary treatment effects estimator, we show that there is little evidence of a causal link between general military surplus acquisition and documented use-of-force incidents. In fact, the acquisition of military vehicles leads to fewer use-of-force incidents. The results also show that more diverse departments have fewer incidents, while agencies with SWAT team have more incidents.

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