After the 2015 Ferguson riots, President Obama banned the transfer of some military surplus equipment to local law enforcement agencies. Black Lives Matter supporters were upset over police using military gear and vehicles during violent protests. The ban pleased his left-wing supporters, but it severely limited the resources cities and counties could use to fight crime. President Donald Trump is about to change that.
The President is expected to sign an executive order lifting the Obama ban, and reinstating a Defense Department program that would transfer excess military equipment to cops. According to The Daily Caller, the program dates back to 1990, and has transferred over $5.4 billion worth of military surplus equipment to state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies across America. With the President’s order, the program will be fully restored.
“The President’s Executive Order restores the full scope of a longstanding program for recycling surplus, lifesaving 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 the Department of Justice.
This equipment includes clothing, rifles, ammunition, armored vehicles, helmets and more. The executive order signed by Obama in 2015 prohibited the DOD from transferring .50 caliber firearms or ammunition, and camouflage uniforms. The order also made it more difficult for agencies to acquire armored vehicles, battering rams, riot helmets, riot shields and drones.
“This type of equipment has been used in high-profile police operations such as San Bernardino, where armored vehicles and other military gear were used to protect the lives of the officers who pursued and ultimately killed the terrorists,” the DOJ stated in a document. “A military-style helmet also stopped a bullet and saved the life of an officer responding to the Orlando nightclub shooting.”
A recent study touted by the DOJ also found that “for every $5,800 in military aid given to law enforcement agencies through this program, society saves roughly $112,000 in costs due to prevented crime.”
It is not yet known how soon the equipment will begin flowing down to law enforcement agencies.