Author: Jessica Gregory
Madison Common Council voted in a 13-6 decision to limit what the Madison Police Department receives from federal military surplus program 1033.
For only shipping costs, the 1033 program provides police departments with a wide variety of items, from flashlights and N95 masks to teargas and firearms.
Madison Police Chief Vic Wahl says their police department has used the surplus program responsibility, but major concerns are posed over the militarization of police departments around the nation due to the program.
The decision made by Madison’s Common Council prohibits the MPD to accept items like teargas, grenade launchers, combat vehicles and bayonets. Any item MPD receives that values over $50,000 must first be approved by the council. If an item alarms the council, they are able to order the MPD to return it. Additionally, MPD is required to bi-annually report the list of items accepted and in their possession.
Police Chief Wahl said he is comfortable with the council’s decision.
“I think it strikes a good balance… I don’t think it’s going to prevent us from getting things we need to do our jobs” Wahl said.
Channel 3000 reports that city Alders considered proposing that the MPD separate from the program entirely but budgetary reasons swiftly eliminated that option. City council members have stated that their regulatory decision was made out of public safety concerns.