Concern about the increasing police state was ramped up when word spread that the Trump administration is going to reverse the ban on the transfer of surplus military gear to the police.
The new plan, outlined in documents obtained by USA Today, would roll back an Obama administration executive order that blocked armored vehicles, large-caliber weapons, ammunition, and other heavy equipment from being repurposed from foreign battlefields and used on America’s streets. A military and battlefield type response by the police in St. Louis three years ago after rioting prompted the ban.
But executive orders are fairly easily undone, and Donald Trump is planning to do just that. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to address the annual meeting of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, and he will likely outline the program changes there later today. Sessions is onboard with a militarized police force to take out drug users and steal more money from civilians through the controversial civil asset forfeiture program.
The Trump administration’s action would restore “the full scope of a longstanding program for recycling surplus, life saving gear from the Department of Defense, along with restoring the full scope of grants used to purchase this type of equipment from other sources,” according to a administration summary of the new program recently circulated to some law enforcement groups. “Assets that would otherwise be scrapped can be repurposed to help state, local and tribal law enforcement better protect public safety and reduce crime.” Although militarized police protect only themselves and public safety is of no concern, it isn’t like the government cares about anyone. Police follow the orders of the government, so they will also get the protection while civilians may only comply.
The FOP and some other law enforcement groups have long been pressing for a reversal of the Obama administration policy, arguing that access to such equipment was needed, especially in cash-strapped communities, to better respond to local unrest.
Local access to the high-powered gear was put on national display in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri where armored vehicles and heavily-armed police clashed with protesters for days following the police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black man by a white officer.The deployment of such equipment, President Obama argued at the time, cast the police as an “occupying force,” deepening a divide between law enforcement and a wary community.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they’re an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said in announcing the ban in 2015. –USA Today
For once, Obama pinpointed a problem, although it was just a symptom, of the larger issue of government control. The militarization of the police will divide the nation further (if that’s possible) and could end in more loss of life. Cops already are nothing more than order followers of the elite and offer terrible service. They also rarely face justice for the murders they commit. Now they will be armed to teeth while doing a disservice to everyone.
The surplus sharing agreement, also known as the “1033 program,” was created by Congress nearly 30 years ago as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and it was originally intended to assist local law enforcement in drug investigations.
“Much of the equipment provided through the 1033 program is entirely defensive in nature … that protect officers in active shooter scenarios and other dangerous situations,” the Trump administration proposal says.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.