Monday, February 23, 2015

The Militarization of the Police

Mapping the Militarization of Law Enforcement in the United States is a map showing how much police forces have spent on 1033 Program military equipment. Police forces throughout the United States have used the program to purchase items such as cold weather clothing, sand bags, medical supplies, sleeping bags and flashlights.

The program has also been used by some police forces to equip themselves with grenade launchers, aircraft, watercraft and armored vehicles. This map allows you to view at county level how much money police forces have spent on the 1033 Program, the cost of this to tax payers (per household) and to view exactly what equipment has been purchased by local police forces.

Using the Pentagon's Excess Property Program (1033) police forces across the United States are equipping themselves with military grade guns, grenade launchers, vehicles, night vision and body armor.  The New York Times created this interactive map to reveal what surplus military equipment county police forces have obtained through the program.

Mapping the Spread of the Military's Surplus Gear uses data from the Pentagon to show where police forces have obtained surplus military gear. You can select a county on the map to view what equipment a local police force has obtained under the Excess Property Program and in what quantity. You can also select a category of military equipment to see which counties across the United States have been in receipt of that type of surplus military gear.

The map itself was created with D3.js. If you are interested in creating a similar map then has an easy to follow tutorial, Making a Simple Interactive Map Prototype with D3…For Total Beginners Who are Totally Impatient, explaining how to create a US counties map with D3.js, using a common separated values file to load the data.

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