Trump to Fully Restore Military Surplus Transfers to Police – New York Times

“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they’re an occupying force,” Mr. Obama said in announcing that he was placing curbs on the program.

The program was started in the 1990s as a way for the military to transfer surplus equipment to federal, state and local police agencies fighting the drug war. More than $5 billion in surplus gear has been funneled to law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Obama prohibited transfers of weaponized vehicles, certain large-caliber ammunition and other equipment. He also added restrictions on transferring some weapons and devices, explosives, battering rams, riot helmets and shields.

Mr. Trump plans to sign an executive order to reverse those limits, a “policy shift toward ensuring officers have the tools they need to reduce crime and keep their communities safe,” according to the document, which described the president’s coming order and the rationale behind it.

It cited two academic articles that said the program helped reduce crime and did not lead to an increase in police-involved deaths. It also said that a military-style helmet saved the life of an officer who responded to the 2016 shooting that killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

And it called much of the equipment provided through the program “entirely defensive in nature,” a characterization certain to draw the ire of those opposed to the police deploying certain heavy weapons and vehicles in tense but not clearly dangerous situations.

Mr. Trump’s decision was first reported by USA Today.

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