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Testify Tuesday on Police Militarization Oversight Bills

West Midlands CT Police Department Creative Commons

This Tuesday at 10am in Room B-2 of the State House will be a hearing on police militarization bills. The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will be holding a hearing on Digital Fourth bill’s, H. 2503, which Pirates helped with and voted to support. The hearing also includes the ACLU-sponsored bill, S. 1277.

Both bills require a public hearing and a vote by the elected officials of a Massachusetts town or city before the police acquire or deploy military-style equipment. H. 2503 would also include surveillance equipment of various kinds, including stingrays and drones. The ACLU’s bill also covers the state police and law enforcement councils. Both have merit.

Passing these bills would provide a needed brake on the militarization of our police and increase democratic accountability. Based on recent research, it may reduce the likelihood of police shootings.

If you’re able to come, please email as soon as possible and let Alex know whether you’ll be speaking and on what bills. If you have subject matter expertise and would like to participate in a panel in front of the Committee, please specify that. Alex will arrive before the hearing begins and sign in the names of everyone who has emailed him beforehand, so that you are heard and can get away as early as possible.

Whether you can come or not, please circulate this alert widely to other groups and listservs.

Hearing location: Currently room B-2 in the State House.

Details of bills up for consideration:

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