AL law enforcement suspended from military equipment allocation program

Published: Aug. 19, 2014 at 6:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2014 at 6:55 PM CDT
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Alabama has not officially participated in the 1033 program since March. (Source: WAFF)
Alabama has not officially participated in the 1033 program since March. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Federal and state officials confirm Alabama has been suspended from the federal 1033 program since March 6, 2014.

The 1033 program supplies state and local law enforcement agencies with military equipment that was decommissioned. Equipment includes helicopters, Humvees, armored vehicles, assault rifles, body armor, and office supplies.

Opponents of the program have criticized it over the last several days, after it became public knowledge that Ferguson, Missouri police acquired much of their tactical equipment through the 1033 program. The city has now had more than a week of protests, some that have turned violent against police, after officers shot and 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Alabama officials said the federal government suspended the program after "accountability issues" and "paperwork issues" with multiple Alabama law enforcement agencies were discovered.

Shane Bailey took over as the Alabama 1033 program state coordinator on May 5. He said a good number of departments across the state didn't file or keep up with paperwork. Bailey said his office is now handling audits, but said no equipment is missing. Bailey said federal officials were in the state during the first week of August conducting an investigation. Bailey has not received a final report from that investigation.

We have confirmed at least 22 North Alabama law enforcement agencies did sign up for the 1033 program. Those agencies have acquired millions of dollars in equipment over the last few years.

Click here for an updated PDF list of agencies that participated and the equipment received.

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said her department has received nearly $2 million dollars in vehicles, gear, and supplies, all from the 1033 program. She said the department looked into acquiring necessary equipment after the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. Without the program, Franklin said her department could not afford any of it because of a dwindling budget. Franklin also provided us with a two page audit of all equipment her department has taken in since 2011 from the 1033 program.

It's unclear if any North Alabama agencies are part of the investigation. We have requested a list of the departments from state officials.

Tuesday evening, ADECA representative Larry Childers released the following statement:

Prior to the time ADECA was given responsibility for management of the program, the federal agency that administers the LESO program determined that documentation from Alabama was incomplete; consequently, access to additional property was suspended. None of the federal property transferred to Alabama is missing and nothing was misused.

ADECA is assisting with the federal audit and we have begun a training program to ensure local agencies fully comply with paperwork requirements in the future. Once the program is reinstated, we believe the procedures we are establishing will prevent future documentation problems.

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