Letter to the editor: Military grade

To the editor:

Any American soldier overseas can be court-martialed for shooting a civilian just because they felt afraid. A set of “rules of engagement” limits the discretion of soldiers to choose to use deadly force. Unfortunately, there is no such discipline for police officers; dozens of officers have shot civilians without justification this year.

This problem is especially concerning where officers are being supplied with military-grade equipment but are not subject to military-grade discipline. Through a program called 1033, the federal government supplies police departments in Kansas with military weapons, explosives and armored vehicles they have no need for, and no ability to control.

The results have meant death for Kansans. In 2017, officers armed with this military equipment conducted a SWAT raid and killed Andrew Finch in Wichita after a prankster made a false report. The deadly errors we see police make on a regular basis are made much worse by the armaments provided by the 1033 program.

Steve Wakins, Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts should immediately sign on to the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, which would end 1033. We can’t allow our loose-cannon cops to have access to actual cannons.

Samuel Natale,



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