--- - |2 Abstract There is a popular belief that the use of military equipment can improve police efforts at social control. Recent protests and riots across the country, however, have piqued public concern about racial disparities in law enforcement and the acquisition and use of military equipment by police in the United States. By using data from the Department of Defense's 1033 Program, we conduct an agency‐level analysis to assess the validity of rational choice arguments and minority threat explanations of police participation in the 1033 Program. Our results reveal that higher violent crime rates and lower drug arrest rates increase law enforcement participation in the 1033 Program. Participation in the 1033 Program, however, is also a function of minority threat, with the functional form of minority threat varying across models predicting 1033 participation and the value of materiel acquired by successful departments. Specifically, a curvilinear relationship exists between the relative size of the Black population and involvement in the 1033 Program, and an exponential relationship between the relative size of the Black and Hispanic populations and the value of property departments receive annually from the 1033 Program. - Criminology, EarlyView.