President Trump is reportedly set to sign an executive order undoing an Obama-era prohibition on the sale of some military equipment to civilian police agencies.
President Obama, in response to complaints that some police departments were deploying armored vehicles and other war-related gear obtained via military surplus against protesters, issued an order limiting sales of some 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 documents seen by The Associated Press.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions may discuss the change in policy in a speech to the national conference of the Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville, Tennessee.
Source: Associated Press
Why it’s on our radar: Initially the Pentagon was authorized in 1990 to begin transferring military equipment to civilian police forces as a means of carrying out the war on drugs. Eventually the program expanded to include local counterterrorism efforts after the 9/11 attacks. But the administration appears to believe concerns about police using such equipment to violate civil rights may be overblown.
This decision is in line with the administration’s “law and order” strategy of opening more federal resources to local police agencies as a way to reduce crime and risk. In a day and age when local departments could find themselves confronting armed terrorists or narco gangs. The administration must believe that it is better to offer MORE federal support to local cops in a day and age when they are increasingly under siege and targeted by certain groups.