Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Vincent Reitano

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew Mingus

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristin Poleski


1033 program, police militarization, police studies


Police departments across the United States have been able to acquire excess military equipment from the 1033 program since 1997. Although several studies have examined police militarization, including the 1033 program, this is the first study that has surveyed police leaders at the local level to understand the determinants of 1033 acquisitions in Michigan. Using an open systems framework, this dissertation will examine both the internal and external factors that contribute to police leaders’ decisions to acquire or not acquire equipment for their departments. These determinants include internal factors such as budgetary considerations, perceptions of the profession, and knowledge of the effects that the 1033 program may have on a community. External factors include community engagement, whether or not to inform the public, as well as police perceptions of the community they serve. With this framework, a regression model was developed to measure the relationship between internal and external factors and the extent of militarization. The model was tested with survey data from Michigan police leaders. Model estimates provide exploratory evidence that police leaders who stated their budget allows them to independently purchase equipment were less likely to use the 1033 program. In contrast, external factors were not found to be associated with the use of the 1033 program. These exploratory findings will provide a framework to research police leaders outside of Michigan. The dissertation also provides police leaders with administrative recommendations when acquiring 1033 equipment as well as insight into the steps they should take before acquisition.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access