Obama orders review of military equipment sales to police

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has ordered a review of programs enabling state and local enforcement to buy military equipment, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The decision follows public criticism of the use of such assets — including armored vehicles, high-tech weaponry and stun grenades — recently in Ferguson, Missouri.

Such force to calm violent protests, in aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, raised questions about what some refer to as the “militarization of police.”

Acquisition of military surplus equipment by local police departments became possible through the military’s Defense Logistics Agency, a law enforcement support program established in 1999.

But, once in the hands of these departments, it’s “up to local law enforcement to determine how and when and where and under what circumstances they use excess military equipment,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said earlier this week.

On Monday, Obama signaled the program may be due a look.

“There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred,” he said. “That would be contrary to our traditions.”

The review, that has now been ordered, will explore whether such programs and funding are appropriate, whether state and local enforcement agencies have the necessary training and guidance after getting such equipment; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.

White House staff — including members of the Domestic Policy Council, the National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget — will lead the review in coordination with Congress, according to the official.

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3 comments

  • Travis havicc

    While Obama and his race baiting friend Eric holder try to find ways to weaken police officers another officer was killed today serving a graffiti warrant in Texas, another officer was shot with his own gun by an unarmed man at a hospital in Iowa. So to you people who think unarmed men are no danger when fighting with officers ask the family of the Iowa officer who is fighting for his life right now. Two officers in Cali were walking the streets when a man shot at them with a rifle striking one of the officers 6 times who is also fighting for his life, he was training a police officer who has only been working for 2months when he was forced to kill a man who was using a rifle. No media attention. Gun fire related deaths for officers are up 47% from last year. While people defend men who attack officers, police officers are getting killed with no media attention. I could go on and on. You want to limit the resources officers have when they work the streets filled with gangs who have everything they have? I know full body armor and armored rigs are big and scary. But I can promise you one thing being down range when bullets fly is much worse. Most of you will never know that which is a good thing, but to the ones who may be in that situation at a moments notice don’t you think its good they have stuff to give them the upper hand?

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