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CMPD Declines To Seek Surplus Military Weapons, Equipment

Surplus military vehicles like these in Kendall County, Ill., can be distributed to local law enforcement agencies through the 1033 program.

Updated at 6:30 p.m.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has no plans to seek surplus military weapons, vehicles, or other equipment as newly allowed under an order signed by President Donald Trump, a CMPD spokesman said.

Under the 1033 program, local police departments are eligible to acquire surplus goods from the military, including high-caliber weapons, armored vehicles, and armed aircraft. The program was limited by President Obama following civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo., but on Monday, President Trump signed on executive order reviving the program in full.

At a press briefing Wednesday, CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said while the department has participated in the program dating back to 1990s, it has since stopped and returned the surplus equipment it received.

"We don't use, nor are we requesting any of that equipment," Tufano told reporters, "So it's inconsequential here as far as this organization goes."

It's unclear when the department formally ended it's participation in the program, though in an online letter to the community, the city notes that CMPD returned its surplus military equipment in 2015.

Tufano said the department is comfortable with its current level of preparedness, and that it wouldn't be "appropriate or right" for CMPD to pursue equipment and other supplies through the program.

In a paper published in the journal Research & Politics, and reported on in The Washington Post, researchers examined whether military equipment causes police officers to be more violent. The research suggested that a link may exist.

Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal