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Congressman John Ratcliffe

Representing the 4th District of Texas

Rep. Ratcliffe Introduces Legislation to Protect Law Enforcement Lives

March 23, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced legislation today to help ensure America’s law enforcement officers are properly equipped to keep our communities safe. The Protecting Lives Using Surplus (PLUS) Equipment Act of 2016 aims to stop the president’s unilateral changes to a key program that provides defense equipment to state and local law enforcement.

Following the Ferguson riots in January 2015, President Obama took executive action to restrict the “1033 Program,” which transfers certain defense surplus equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies – particularly those associated with counter-drug and counter-terrorism activities. This move effectively cuts access to critical equipment that our state and local law enforcement agencies depend upon.

“The president’s decision to unilaterally cut access to potentially life-saving equipment was a knee-jerk reaction that put politics ahead of safety. The legislation I’ve introduced ensures that any changes to such programs would be data-driven, as we simply cannot allow for politics to compromise the protection of those who’ve dedicated their careers to keeping Americans safe.”

Last week Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced nearly identical legislation in the Senate, the Lifesaving Gear for Police Act (S. 2694), which also seeks to reverse the president’s unilateral decision to restrict access to lifesaving equipment through the 1033 program.

Ratcliffe’s legislation is endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Sheriffs Association, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Police Organizations.

"The DoD is nearly finished with its recall efforts to remove equipment like certain armored vehicles. These vehicles are constructed so as to protect officers and citizens from gunfire, as we saw most recently at the tragic shootings in San Bernardino. Officers were able to safely approach the shooters’ escape vehicle, an SUV, by approaching them with multiple armored vehicles.  No one at the scene of this tragic event, I assure you, was troubled by the appearance of the vehicle or the responding officers, even if the media would describe the response as 'too militarized.' This equipment, while politically incorrect, saved lives on that day."

Chuck Canterbury, National President
Fraternal Order of Police