Trump to Lift Ban on Providing Military Gear to Local Police

Kristopher Drake
August 29, 2017

The Trump Administration is prepared to lift an Obama-era ban on re-purposing military equipment from the battlefield for community policing, according to USA Today.

"The men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line every single day - willing to give theirs in order to protect ours". A July Government Accountability Office report found that the federal government's highest auditing power managed to obtain more than $1.2 million in military-grade equipment, from bomb-making materials to M-16A2 rifles, with little more than a fake address and website for an entirely fictional law enforcement agency - in less than a week.

"One sheriff told me earlier this year about how, due to the prior administration's restrictions, the federal government made his department return an armored vehicle that can change the dynamics of an active shooter situation", he said Monday.

"We've seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they're an occupying force", Obama said.

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a former Justice Department official, said in a statement, "These guidelines were created after Ferguson to ensure that police departments had a guardian, not warrior, mentality".

Congress originally launched the so-called "1033 program" in 1990 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which allowed the Defense Department to transfer surplus hardware and equipment to state and local law enforcement for use in "counter-drug activities".

"Considering the distrust of police actions, many people will no longer view the police as partners in combatting crime - but as occupiers", our correspondent added.

The Fraternal Order of Police called Obama's concern exaggerated at the time.

Calling President Obama's ban "intellectually dishonest", Yates said that "Obama's administration and the media wanted the public to believe that all they were doing was preventing law enforcement from getting rocket launchers and bayonets and the truth is that law enforcement doesn't need or want those items. The law enforcement response there and in too many places across the country demonstrated how perilous, especially for Black and Brown communities, a militarized police force can be", the LDF said.

The Trump administration is lifting limits on the transfer of some surplus military hardware, including grenade launchers, bayonets and large-caliber weapons, to police departments. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is learned to be announcing on Monday surplus weapons and vehicles of the nation's military will be transferred to the state and local law enforcement agencies. That equipment included ammunition under.50-caliber; some aircraft; certain armored and tactical vehicles; explosives; battering rams; riot helmets; and riot shields. Another Republican, Rep. Mark Sanford of SC, said the program "incentivizes the militarization of local police departments, as they are encouraged to grab more equipment than they need".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

Discuss This Article