By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
It’s become a mainstay of local policing in the Obama era, Save Jerseyans: militarized police forces armed with surplus equipment from the 2000s.
In 2014, approximately 8,000 local law enforcement agencies in the United States were participating in the federal government’s “reutilization” 1033 Program that began in 1997. Over $5.1 billion in military hardware from the Department of Defense made its way into the hands of municipal and county police departments during that period.
New Jersey has been no exception. Believe it or not, the New Jersey State Police was tasked with reviewing no less than 2,000 transfer requests pertaining to 17,000 individual pieces of military-grade equipment.
A group of legislators (including Republican Ron Dancer) led the passage of S-2365/A-3754 which, had it become law, tasked the New Jersey Attorney General with oversight of these transfers and establishing review and reporting procedures.
The verdict: Governor Christie wasn’t impressed with the legislation as-is, as he’s primarily concerned with the state filling a federal role, so he conditionally vetoed the measure on Monday and, further, expressed his belief that the bill “goes too far in its pursuit of oversight and, instead, unduly burdens the Attorney General by interfering with his ability to properly delegate authority.” The bill can still be adopted if the legislature assents to proposed changes.