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Military Surplus Equipment Can Bolster Campus Public Safety

President Trump lifted restrictions placed on the Surplus Military Equipment Program – 1033 Program – by the Obama administration through an executive order on August 28, 2017. International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Executive Director Sue Riseling issued the following statement:

“University and college police departments can benefit from obtaining surplus equipment from the military,” Riseling noted. She added that it remains to be seen how many higher-education police departments will eventually participate in the program.

Many public safety departments at public universities are under significant financial constraints. There has been a lot of attention on military weapons and vehicles in this program.

However, as Riseling points out, “Campuses can obtain a variety of equipment—including clothing, computers, communications equipment, and sophisticated tactical gear—through this program at a fraction of the cost of purchase through commercial vendors. That cost-savings could be applied to personnel, training, and safety programs. “

Additionally, university police—like municipal law enforcement—train for active-shooter incidents, mass terrorism attacks, and natural disaster response. Military-style vehicles, in particular, can be valuable in rescuing victims and bringing them to safety, as the world witnessed during the rescue efforts in Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

“Decisions on when and how to deploy military-grade equipment depend on the unique climate and culture of each college or university,” Riseling added. Campuses are special environments and campus departments “should consider modifying the appearance of the equipment—for example, dying or repainting green items and equipment blue or possibly the school colors.” 

IACLEA is participating in a Congressionally mandated study of the 1033 Program by the RAND Corporation.

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