U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Permanent Working Group on Law Enforcement Equipment

As part of the Administration’s effort to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, the Permanent Working Group on Law Enforcement Equipment (PWG) was established to implement Recommendations to the President pursuant to Executive Order 13688. The Recommendations, which were accepted by the President on May 18, 2015, harmonize Federal procedures governing the provision of certain equipment to Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and ensure that LEAs have proper policies and training in place regarding the appropriate use of equipment provided through Federal equipment programs. The PWG is a federal inter-agency working group co-led by the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense, with members from the Departments of Education, Interior, and Treasury, and the General Services Administration. The Executive Director of the PWG is the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs.

Latest Updates

  • Annual Review of Prohibited and Controlled Equipment: This document summarizes the changes made to the Prohibited and Controlled Equipment Lists after the PWG’s 2016 annual review, which was conducted in consultation with stakeholders.

  • Less Lethal Launchers: The Controlled Equipment category of “Specialized Firearms” now includes Less Lethal Launchers. In Fiscal Year 2016, there was confusion whether Less Lethal Launchers were encompassed in the Prohibited Equipment List category “Grenade Launchers” or entirely excluded from the Prohibited or Controlled Equipment Lists. The new definitions clarify that Less Lethal Launchers are considered Controlled Equipment.

    Riot Helmets: This category has been removed from the Controlled Equipment List based on consideration of the following relevant factors: officer safety; utility of equipment to law enforcement; building trust between law enforcement and the community; and the impact on the community of misuse, overuse, and inappropriate use. Riot/Crowd Control Batons and Shields continue to be Controlled Equipment.

  • Recommendations to the President (Updated for 2017): The original Recommendations to the President, which were submitted and accepted in May 2015, have been updated to reflect modifications made to date.

  • Annual Training: For purposes of Recommendation 2.2 (“Annual Training”), the PWG clarified that the requirement for LEAs to train those who use or authorize use of Controlled Equipment on an “annual” basis may be accomplished – after an initial comprehensive session – through an in-service, presentations at roll call, or as part of other training refreshers.

    Significant Incidents: For purposes of Recommendation 2.3 (“After-Action Review”), LEAs must collect and retain Required Information following a significant incident only for Controlled Equipment acquired through Federal programs on or after October 1, 2015 (the beginning of Fiscal Year 2016). Previously, LEAs were required to collect and retain such information for any equipment in their inventory – whether it was acquired prior to Fiscal Year 2016 and/or acquired using non-Federal resources – that is in the same category as one acquired in Fiscal Year 2016 through a Federal program.

  • Tribal Consultation Summary: This report summarizes the PWG’s Tribal consultation process and engagement that occurred in 2015.

  • Enhanced Criteria for Institutions of Higher Learning: Consistent with the Recommendations, this document describes the criteria that the PWG members will consider in an application for Controlled Equipment by law enforcement agencies operated by Institutions of Higher Education.

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