House Democrats voted to pass House Bill 2481, prohibiting Oregon law enforcement agencies from receiving certain types of military surplus equipment from the federal government, including armored drones, grenades and firearms silencers.
Sponsored by Reps. Power (D-Milwaukie) and Fahey (D-West Eugene & Junction City), the bill comes in response to a tumultuous year of protests against police brutality, which has disproportionately affected BIPOC communities.
“Militarized law enforcement is extraneous to public safety,” stated Rep. Power. “This is a step towards creating a safer environment not only for protesters exercising their first amendment, but for the wellbeing of our communities.”
HB 2481 would also require agencies that do receive surplus military equipment to receive permission from corresponding government bodies and agency directors, to provide notification, and to use state or local funds only.
House Democrats also emphasize how HB 2481 will increase operational transparency, obliging law enforcement to make requests for surplus military equipment public record.
“The types of military equipment this bill addresses do not decrease or deter crime,” said Rep. Fahey. “Additionally, research has shown that police militarization contributes to feelings of alienation of police from the communities they are serving, with no detectable benefits in terms of officer safety.”
Having passed the House with bipartisan support, the bill will move onto the Senate.