The White House will revisit a 2015 ban on police forces getting riot gear, armored vehicles and other military-grade equipment from the United States Armed Forces.
Shortly after the recent shooting deaths of police officers, President Barack Obama agreed to review each banned item, the two law enforcement leaders said.
That could result in changes to the ban imposed in May 2015 on the transfer of some equipment from the military to police, said Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations.
Last year’s ban came after a public outcry over police in cities, such as Ferguson, Missouri, using military-grade riot gear and armored vehicles during protests against police brutality.
Both Pasco and Johnson were among eight police organization chiefs who met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on July 11. That was three days after a shooter targeted and killed five police officers in Dallas.
At last week’s meeting, law enforcement leaders urged Obama to reinstate military equipment such as helmets, grenade launchers and tracked armored vehicles to enhance officers’ safety and their ability to respond to violent riots.
Under the 2015 executive order, the federal government may no longer transfer such equipment. Local police are not banned from purchasing it on the private market, but most departments cannot afford that on their own, potentially leaving officers vulnerable, said Pasco.
At Obama’s request, White House chief legal counsel Neil Eggleston will review the ban, Pasco and Johnson said.
Law Officer has been particularly tough on the President in regards to this issue as we have seen an increasing need for equipment such as helmets and entry tools as law enforcement faces increasing threats.
We ask the President to not only review the transfer of some equipment but to reinstate the ability of agencies to use DOJ Grant Funds for basic equipment such as helmets, entry tools and ballistic gear. What many don’t know is that the Obama Administration has deemed many basic tools as “military grade” and has not allowed grant funds to purchase these items.
These items are important and if you don’t believe us, ask the residents of Orlando or San Bernardino.
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