Oregon takes steps to limit police militarization
Oregon lawmakers took a step toward curbing the increased militarization of law enforcement, enacting legislation that bars police from acquiring certain military surplus items for department use.
The Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharrey reports:
HB2481 bans the following:
Unmanned aircraft systems that are armored or weaponized
Aircraft that are combat-configured or combat-coded
Grenades or similar explosives, or grenade launchers
On June 2, the Senate passed HB2481 by a 26-3 vote. The House previously passed the measure by a 39-9 vote. With Gov. Kate Brown’s signature, the law goes into effect on the 91st day after the legislature adjourns sine die scheduled for June 28.
As introduced, the bill would have barred the acquisition of mine-resistant vehicles, unmanned ground vehicles, or militarized combat, assault, or armored vehicles. Those provisions were removed by the House Judiciary Committee.
HB2481 also prohibits law enforcement agencies from using federal funds to purchase allowable equipment from military surplus programs. They will be required to use state or local funds. It also requires a law enforcement agency to get written permission from their local governing body before acquiring allowable equipment.
Good steps toward de-escalating the militarization of policing, at least in Oregon. It would have been even better had the provisions banning the acquisition of combat and assault vehicles remained in the bill. But some progress on this front is far better than none.