Militarization of Police

Trump Rescinds Ban on Transfer of Some Military Equipment to Local Police

Rand Paul: "Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security."

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Sra Ramon A. Adelan/ZUMA Press/Newscom

President Trump rescinded limits imposed by the Obama administration on the transfer of equipment from the military to state and local police departments, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech Monday.

Sessions, speaking before the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the U.S., in Nashville this morning, announced to applause that Trump will, effective immediately, roll back limits on the Department of Defense's 1033 program.

The Obama administration limited the program in 2015, prohibiting the transfer of such items as camouflage, .50-caliber ammuniation, tracked armored vehicles, grenade launchers and bayonets. Police departments in possession of such materiel were asked to return it.

Obama acted amid growing concern by civil liberties groups and Black Lives Matter activists over police militarization. Iconic photographs from the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, showed police with armored vehicles, body armor and military-grade rifles.

"Those restrictions went too far," Sessions told the Fraternal Order of Police. "We will not put superficial concerns above public safety. All you need to do is turn on a tv right now to see that for Houstonians this isn't about appearances, it's about getting the job done and getting everyone to safety."

Sessions said Obama's executive order had halted the flow of the type of helmets and armor that protected police responding to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, as well as vehicles and aircraft used in natural disaster rescue efforts.

"Studies have shown this equipment reduces crime rates, reduces the number of assaults against police officers, and reduces the number of complaints against police officers," Sessions said.

In a statement, Fraternal Order of Police president Chuck Canterbury said Sessions is "a great friend of the FOP and to police."

"The previous administration was more concerned about the image of law enforcement being too 'militarized' than they were about our safety," Canterbury said. "In an effort to shut down a single program run by the Defense Department, known as the 1033 program, they restricted access to surplus equipment throughout the federal government."

The 1033 program has since it was established in 1990 transferred more than $5 billion-worth of military equipment to local police departments. Most of it has been mundane, things like cold weather gear and filing cabinets.

However, according to a 2014 report by the Obama White House, the federal government had provided 460,000 pieces of military equipment to local police, including 92,442 small arms, 44,275 night-vision devices, 5,235 Humvees, 617 mine-resistant vehicles, and 616 aircraft.

Civil libertarians, including lawmakers in Congress, condemned Trump's decision. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), wrote in a series of tweets that he disagreed with the decision.

"Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security," Paul tweeted. "The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm."

Kanya Bennett, legislative counsel at the ACLU of Washington, D.C., said it "defies logic to arm the police with weapons of war—grenade launchers, high-caliber assault weapons, and more—but that's precisely what President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have decided to do."

"Three years ago this month, the nation witnessed a highly militarized, violent crackdown by police on protesters in Ferguson," Bennett continued." Today's executive order erases the sensible limits placed by the Obama administration after Ferguson on the kinds of military equipment flowing from the federal government to local police and into our neighborhoods. Tensions between law enforcement and communities remain high, yet the president and the attorney general are giving the police military-grade weaponry instead of practical, effective ways to protect and serve everyone."

The Obama administration also put new federal oversight and annual auditing requirements in place for the 1033 program after finding there were lax controls over the program. Police departments had to justify requests for certain big-ticket items, like armored personnel carriers, and third-party sales were banned. What happens without strict oversight is worrisome: A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released last month detailed how the GAO was able to procure $1.2 million in "controlled property" through the 1033 program by creating a fictitious federal agency and applying for gear.

All of those requirements are now gone. President Trump's executive order is a clean repeal of Obama's 2015 order and sends a clear message to law enforcement: Stock up while the getting's good.

NEXT: Lawsuits Fly Against Trump Administration's Reversal on Transgender Military Service

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  1. I may have to do some heavy drinking and consult a longshoreman to come up with all the obscenities this requires.

  2. …it’s about getting the job done and getting everyone to safety.

    And by everyone I think we know who we’re talking about.

    1. Not dogs. Some of these weapons will make shooting dogs more efficient.

  3. Is anyone surprised? Trump’s police boner has always been bigger than the Washington Monument.

    1. Booooooiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggg….

  4. You can also contact your local government and demand that they never ask for this type of equipment.

    This might have been more of a FU to Obama by rescinding his EO.

    Either way, police should not be dressing, equipping themselves, and acting like a military force. Its one thing for a state or large county to have a SWAT team for serious hostage situations, now every town and small county has to have a militarized police force to be cool.

    1. My little town received an MRAP a few years ago the thing is so heavy it can’t cross most bridges in town. I hope it falls into one of the rivers while crossing some bridge one day while heading out to a pot farm

  5. Who could have foreseen that addressing serious problems through executive diktat wouldn’t fix the country forever?

  6. THE ANTIFA THUGS HAVE IT COMING!

    1. What the Police/Nanny state that they helped create being used against them?

  7. Kanya Bennett, legislative counsel at the ACLU of Washington, D.C., said it “defies logic to arm the police with weapons of war?grenade launchers, high-caliber assault weapons, and more?but that’s precisely what President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have decided to do.”

    No it doesn’t “defy logic”, you jackass. Do you really think the term “police state” comes from the government watching every breath you take?

    1. Every move you make?

      1. Also yes.

        1. I’ll be watching you….

  8. Trying to imagine what scenario would require cops to use grenade launchers. Only coming up with “because it’s fucking cool, brah.”

    1. They shoot tear gas canisters, which will be needed to suppress the upcoming antifa/Nazi/swiftie uprising.

      1. Those 1000 antifa/Nazi/Swiftie guys and women with dickholes in their underwear are no match for logic let alone incompetent police forces.

    2. I was trying to picture what situation where they need camouflage, especially without the associated training. Only came up with “Fucking Cool”.

      1. I just love it when cops wear camo in cities. its the ultimate in play warfare, where the heck are the trees they hide behind in the concrete jungles. If they want camo it should be a light grey color not green.

  9. RE: Trump Rescinds Ban on Transfer of Some Military Equipment to Local Police
    Rand Paul: “Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security.”

    What?
    Trump rescinding a ban on transferring military equipment to the local police?
    No fascist in his right mind would do that.

  10. “Studies have shown this equipment reduces crime rates, reduces the number of assaults against police officers, and reduces the number of complaints against police officers,” Sessions said…

    …without providing the studies.

    1. Well, duh! How many people do you know who have successfully assaulted a cop once they’ve been blasted with a grenade? Kind of hard to make a complaint when you’ve been crushed by an MRAP.

  11. “Those restrictions went too far,” Sessions told the Fraternal Order of Police. “We will not put superficial concerns above public safety. All you need to do is turn on a tv right now to see that for Houstonians this isn’t about appearances, it’s about getting the job done and getting everyone to safety.”

    Yeah, the biggest problem right now in Houston is that they don’t have enough grenade launchers or bayonets.

  12. At least if things ever get too bad, and someone suggests calling in the national guard, we can simply remind the locals that their police force is already better equipped than the national guard and to handle it themselves.

  13. Obama only put more oversight into who got what, it never kept anything from the cops. Trump just eliminated the extra paperwork.

  14. What, the DoD’s going to be sending new “batons” to local cops?
    Isn’t that a Crime Against Humanity?

  15. This all strikes me as a Posse Comitatus Act workaround. Give hiring preferences to veterans, train them that civilians are dangerous and that heir own self preservation is paramount, send them out to fight wars on drugs, prostitution, untaxed cigarettes, or whatever, allow them to kill, rape, and steal with absolutely no consequences and arm them with automatic weapons and grenade launchers. Might as well have armed military patrolling the streets. We’d probably have less collateral damage.

  16. Getting a little fed up with BLM, but this can only make policing in this country much worse than it already is. If police spend more time and money on things that they have no competence in, naked corruption will flourish.

  17. So what else would they do with these assets? At least they’re being returned closer to the people.

  18. Well, that tears it.

    Trump’s an idiot of the first magnitude. And Sessions cannot be described as anything more than a living organism. Pity.

    Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security,” Paul tweeted. “The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm.”

    But what other way can the power elite keep us down?

    They can’t get rid of our guns, so they buy better armor.

  19. The Obama administration limited the program in 2015, prohibiting the transfer of such items as camouflage, .50-caliber ammuniation, tracked armored vehicles, grenade launchers and bayonets. Police departments in possession of such materiel were asked to return it.

    Why the fuck do police need GRENADE LAUNCHERS? I highly doubt they undergo any rigorous training on using these things well…and, fuck, they are in this country. They won’t use guns on mobs — they need GRENADES?

    Obama acted amid growing concern by civil liberties groups and Black Lives Matter activists over police militarization. Iconic photographs from the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, showed police with armored vehicles, body armor and military-grade rifles.

    The main complaint of Ferguson I completely agreed with was that letting the cops become a military is an exceptionally terrible idea.

    “Those restrictions went too far,” Sessions told the Fraternal Order of Police. “We will not put superficial concerns above public safety. All you need to do is turn on a tv right now to see that for Houstonians this isn’t about appearances, it’s about getting the job done and getting everyone to safety.”

    What military hardware will save people in flood zones? I’m getting the body armor and military rifles won’t be of a great deal of use.

  20. It’s like Trump is bribing the police for protection in the upcoming and (hopefully) imaginary civil war…

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