President Donald Trump is going to lift the current restrictions on surplus military gear that can be passed on to state and local law enforcement agencies. This comes despite cries from some circles that police used armored vehicles and other military kit to escalate confrontations with protesters.
According to documents leaked to the AP, Trump was going to undo an Obama administration sanction that restricted police agencies’ access to grenade launchers, bulletproof vests, riot shields, firearms, ammunition and other surplus military equipment.
Trump’s order would fully restore the program under which “assets that would otherwise be scrapped can be repurposed to help state, local, and tribal law enforcement better protect public safety and reduce crime,” according to the documents.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions could outline the changes during a Monday speech to the national conference of the Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville, Tennessee, a person familiar with the matter said. The person insisted on anonymity to discuss the plan ahead of an official announcement.
The changes would be another way in which Trump and Sessions are enacting a law-and-order agenda that views federal support of local police as a way to drive down violent crime.
While some have called this further militarization of the police, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he’s for improving the morale for local law enforcement which is a key to curbing spikes in violence in some cities. The documents in the possession of the AP state that President Trump favors the public’s safety over the appearance of heavy equipment. And the gear was listed as “defensive in nature.”
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Photo courtesy DOD