President Obama Bans the Gifting of Some Military-Style Equipment to Police

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No more playing war on citizens with federally funded military-style equipment for local police. So says President Obama.  Police need to have a  “guardian”, not a warrior, mind-set about their communities.

In an effort to create trust between police and the communities they serve, President Obama is taking a number of steps based on a report released today. One of those steps is to prohibit the federal gifting of some military-style equipment to local police, such as “tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, and large-caliber firearms.”  It will also limit the federal gifting or funding of military-style equipment such as “armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear, and specialized firearms and ammunition.”

In order to be eligible to get military-style equipment, the agencies will have to commit to “training on community policing, constitutional policing, and community impact.” Furthermore,  they must commit “to respect and uphold community members’ civil rights and civil liberties…”

Read the details on the “Prohibited Equipment List” from a White House Fact Sheet entitled “Creating Opportunity for All Through Stronger, Safer Communities” sent to us from the White House Press Secretary on Monday:

Equipment Working Group Final Report:
In addition to the work completed by the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, a separate federal interagency working group—led by the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security – has now completed an extensive review of federal programs that support the transfer of equipment to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.  On the basis of that review, the working group developed a series of concrete steps to enhance accountability, increase transparency, and better serve the needs of law enforcement and local communities.  The President has directed departments and agencies to put the working group’s recommendations into practice and continue to partner with law enforcement and local communities during the implementation process. The working group report is available HERE.

·         The working group developed a unified list of prohibited equipment that may not be acquired under any of the various programs. This list includes tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, and large-caliber firearms.

·         The working group developed a unified list of equipment that law enforcement may acquire only in accordance with new and more rigorous controls.  This controlled list includes armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear, and specialized firearms and ammunition.

o   Uniform Acquisition Standards: Across all programs, the transfer of equipment on the controlled list will require the consent of the appropriate local civilian governing body (e.g., City Council, County Council, Mayor) as well as a clear and persuasive explanation of the need for the equipment and the appropriate law enforcement purpose that it will serve.

o   Training and Protocols: To receive such equipment, law enforcement agencies must commit to have in place “general policing” training standards, including training on community policing, constitutional policing, and community impact.  Agencies must also agree to protocols on the appropriate use, supervision, and operation of such equipment.

o   Required Data Collection: Law enforcement agencies must collect and retain certain information whenever such equipment is involved in a “significant incident.”   Upon request or during a compliance review, the law enforcement agency must provide this information to the federal agency that supported the equipment’s acquisition.  This information will also be made publicly available in accordance with the law enforcement agency’s applicable policies and protocols.

The report is based on an Executive Order that President Obama issued back on January 16th of this year, “Federal Support for Local Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition”, the purpose of which was to  “improve Federal support for the appropriate use, acquisition, and transfer of controlled equipment by State, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies”.

The New York Times reported this morning that administration officials explained that this is exactly what it looks like:

The ban is part of Mr. Obama’s push to ease tensions between law enforcement and minority communities in reaction to the crises in Baltimore; Ferguson, Mo.; and other cities.

This is but one step among a list of recommendations in order to improve the relationship between police and the communities they serve, including a body-worn camera pilot program, an adherence to “Constitutional policing”, and more  — these recommendations will be implemented by October 1, 2015.

These policies aim to keep both police and citizens safer, and to foster a sense of trust between police and the community. They are also meant to ensure that the civil liberties of citizens are not met with military-style equipment designed to intimidate citizens, as we have increasingly seen around the country after 9/11, when the Bush administration expanded efforts to arm local police, leading to a militarized, but untrained and unregulated, police force.

Protecting the civil liberties of citizens should be a huge issue in every election. Republicans, even the Libertarian leaning, like to use fear to justify assaults on liberty. In the wake of shame-inducing  patriotic language used to silence dissenters, our country has allowed our police to be given military-style equipment with no limitations as to the usage, and so it was used against citizens.

This is yet another example of why regulation is actually necessary in order to protect individual freedom.

21 Replies to “President Obama Bans the Gifting of Some Military-Style Equipment to Police”

  1. Well, the Reich has been hollering for years about President Obama coming for their guns, who would have thought it included grenade launchers, bayonets and armed drones.

  2. The police do not want to see that they are a huge part of the problem, when they overreact and become over-protective of their turf and enforcing their duties without any regards for the safety of their communities.

    In New Year’s eve, there was a family block party, ending with fireworks.

    The minute the last firework explotes, the police start prancing their horses to shove the people out of the venue…nobody was causing problems, except the police, using excessive presence when none was needed.

    It was fortunate nobody was stumped on or worse.

  3. Well I can see that I’m alone when it comes to this issue here. I believe that our law enforcement personnel are outmatched by the White Militant Christians and TeaParty Insurgents because the militant wing of the GOP the NRA has made sure that even criminals are well armed! Innocent people will be killed in the crossfire because of the NRA! If the NRA would not condone such an over-arming of our populace the police would not have to be competing in an ever increasing manner. Besides we are going to need the military style local LE’os to protect us from the TeaParty and their sick bloodthirsty ilk.

  4. Instead of more military hardware for cops, how about
    issuing a camera to each of them with no way to turn the
    thing off?

  5. Right, same scenario that placed Hitler and his evil empire in place. Same scenario, different players. The Koch empire is of German descent. Google it. It was they, who had the NRA to spread the lies and sell more guns to the American people. Even when most law enforcement officials opposed such stupidity. Those two German descendents nonother. The black man in the Whitehouse only made them show their true intentions a lot earlier than they planned. To take over and convince Americans that it was the Federal government causing the confusion, the Republicans will, not maybe, regret what they’ve done to our way of life. Exactly like Adolph did, see what happened? The last patriot crossed the Delaware over a hundred years ago. Keep them in check Prez Obama, it’s sad that you can’t serve 4 more, we appreciate you & all you’ve accomplished.

  6. The police force in this country is a gang and they’re fighting a turf war with their countries citizens. They easily forget there is more of us than there is of them. And no, I’m not saying we’re going to overthrow the government with our long guns. I’m saying that when we speak up, stand together, record their transgressions and hold them accountable, we will win. What’s interesting is that the more they violate our rights, as Americans and as humans, the more they force the population to unite against them. Brilliant, no?

  7. I think you’d find most of us agree with you on much of that, Joseph. The NRA and the GOP have MUCH blame to share, no doubt. And I agree that the armed domestic terrorists will have to be dealt with by bigger forces with better weaponry. But our police forces have made it abundantly clear that they can’t handle the responsibility of such weaponry. They are NOT the answer. When conflict with those radicals comes, and I believe it will come, our military will work just fine.

  8. SunnyDay, I don’t think it’s an issue of the police’s improper use of the weaponry. It IS more of an issue of the POLICY behind the use,the police in these protest/riot’senario’s have no idea of what could happen. Some radical right wingers could set the whole thing off into the race war that the Reich Wing and the NRA are salivating for.

  9. I do understand that the police do not need an Abrams. But I might also point out here that the shootings in ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Beavercreek were made with the officers SERVICE WEAPON. In other words his side arm. The guy in NY wasn’t even shot.
    Also Many cops are military vets, so they are trained before they even join a police force how to use military grade hardware.
    Ask your selves this how many times have you seen the police use a grenade launcher, an assault rifle ( not the AR-15 but a full fledged assault rifle) track vehicle, etc?
    The only time I have seen the local cops break out the “big guns” is for advertisement to support the local police.

  10. Speaking of Nazis and the Kochs, I don’t know if there’s
    any family connection, but the first commandant of
    Buchenwald was SS officer Otto Koch. His wife, Ilse, was
    rumored to select tattoos for human skin lampshades.
    Another story told about the “bitch of Buchenwald” said
    she’d march around the camp naked and if an inmate
    looked at her, she’d have him shot. These Kochs set the
    family values for generations.

  11. The other part of the need for military equipment is to fight drug dealers & drug gangs. Consider legalizing the trade & collect taxes, and those bad people become
    “privateers” (since they are alreay funded by “some-big-money-&-influence” team,
    (from the Iran-contra-gun-deal fame).

    And creaty fair wages for the working people, so that they have alternative employment.

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