The Trump administration has rolled back a regulation which kept domestic police forces from obtaining military equipment. Many see the move as a necessary rollback of Obama’s anti-police stance and policies. Trump removed the Obama administrations ban an executive order.
Obama implemented the policy shortly after a famous Ferguson, Missouri case which involved the shooting of Michael Brown. Michael Brown was shot after he attempted to attack an officer while disobeying commands given by law enforcement. This event sparked national outrage, albeit dishonest and disingenuous.
Michael Brown decided one day he would strong-arm rob a convenient store. The police were called and Brown continued to make poor decisions by ignoring officers demands. He then launched an attack on the officer who shot Brown dead. Brown’s friends complicated the situation when they falsely reported, Brown had his hands up saying “don’t shoot.” Multiple witnesses at the scene later testified that Brown was attacking the officer.
The mainstream media then picked up the story and began to use the false narrative put forth by Brown’s friend. Many in the media pursued a narrative which defamed and wrongly accused police across the nation of being racist. Obama made statements on the matter which many law enforcement officers found to be offensive.
The citizens of Ferguson used the opportunity to become outraged and riot, destroying local businesses and setting multiple fires. The riots intensified as the media fueled the outrage by pushing a false narrative and failing to provide accurate statistics or facts regarding law enforcement in America.
With the city burning and the media making reckless allegations of racism in law enforcement, Obama came up with a misguided executive order. The policy he would write into law effectively kept civilian law enforcement officers from obtaining surplus military equipment. The law was Obama’s way of showing support for a cause built upon a false narrative, and media propaganda.
Many agencies felt the Obama administration did little to support them and often times demonized them using inflammatory rhetoric. In the Michael Brown case which he drew inspiration for his legislation, he said the incident “Stains the heart of black children.” Obama continued to fuel resentment toward law enforcement saying “Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement.”
The Trump administration’s executive order would reverse the block of the military to police transfer of ammunition 50 calibers or higher, armed aircraft, armored vehicles, bayonets, and guns. Trump campaigned on his support of our countries law enforcement officers. Jeff Sessions remarked, “He is doing all he can to restore law and order and support our police across America.”
Police agencies across the nation are generally pleased with this new policy. Many will see the influx of new equipment as an opportunity to save tax-payers a ton money. Many smaller police agencies cannot afford the same type of equipment as their larger counterparts. They look to federal programs like the one President Trump reinstated in order to adequately equip their officers for duty.
The decision has not come without some level of backlash. Many are concerned that the police outfits who couldn’t afford the equipment may wind up driving up their maintenance costs by servicing and maintaining the military arms and vehicles they receive.
The Newark Police department received two, forty-two-year-old military helicopters free of charge through the Pentagon’s program to issue surplus military equipment to civil law enforcement. While the department rarely used the aircraft, one was for spare parts, according to public records, the city spent over two million dollars servicing and maintaining the other OH-58A Bell Kiowa helicopter it received.
Other concerns with the legislation come from Americans who do not feel the equipment is necessary. Many citizens find the measure to be a step toward the militarization of local law enforcement, something they vehemently oppose. If situations become grave the National Guard is responsible for stepping in and assisting. However, in order to send in the National Guard, there are several legal steps involved. This has protected United States citizens from overzealous and overstepping agencies whose primary objective should be to protect and serve the people of their respective communities.
Whether law enforcement agencies intend on using this new provision to any great extent is yet to be determined, as is the impact of this executive order. However, it does show President Trump is in full support of the men and women in law enforcement.