The Associated Press has just reported that Trump’s administration is preparing to “restore the flow of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies under a program that had been sharply curtailed amid an outcry over police use of armored vehicles and other war-fighting gear to confront protesters.”
The Associated Press report states that there are documents to indicate the U.S President may sign an executive order reversing a 2015 directive laid down during the last administration which limits police access to military-grade equipment such as “grenade launchers, bayonets, tracked armored vehicles, weaponised aircraft and vehicles, firearms and ammunition of .50-caliber or greater, bullet-proof vests and riot shields.”
This report comes after a week when State force was unleashed on anti-Trump protesters in Arizona by the Police outside the New Phoenix Convention Centre where the President attended a campaign-style rally for his support base.
The basis of this reversal – according to AP’s documents – is presumably so as to help law enforcement better “protect public safety and reduce crime.
The move also comes after several nudges from police organisations urging Trump to “hold his promise to once again make the equipment available to local and state police departments, many of which see it as needed to ensure officers aren’t put in danger when responding to active shooter calls and terrorist attacks.”
Before the Obama directive, the police had access to these equipment based on a 1990 authorisation by Congress “to help [the police] fight drugs, which then gave way to the fight against terrorism.”
On the other side of the spectrum, those against the proposed move have concerns about the militarisation of police. They argue that that kind of authorization “encourages and escalates confrontations with officers.”
Their arguments are rooted in the sometimes excessive use of military gear “during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Police responded in riot gear and deployed tear gas, dogs and armored vehicles. At times they also pointed assault rifles at protesters”, AP reports.
But one of Trump’s many campaign promises was to rescind the executive order and he decided to do so in exchange for an endorsement from the organisation of rank-and-file officers during the 2016 hard-fought campaign. He does not seem to have forgotten that promise.
AP reports that the Justice Department declined to comment on the expected move but that Attorney-General, Jeff Sessions may address the matter later today during a speech.
Sourced from The Associated Press.