Obama ordering restrictions on police militarization
May 18, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama plans to issue an order Monday banning federal authorities from providing certain types of military-style equipment to local police departments. [New York Times]
Obama is expected to prohibit police departments from using federal funds to acquire tracked armored vehicles, camouflage uniforms and the highest-caliber firearms and ammunition. The decree is aimed at reducing tensions between law enforcement and minority communities in the aftermath of civil unrest that has occurred in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities.
After last year’s unrest, Obama issued an executive order creating a task force that would analyze the militarization of police and issue recommendations on addressing the problem. The task force is releasing its report Monday, and Obama is reportedly taking some of its recommendations.
Obama accepted the task force’s recommendations on imposing additional restrictions on wheeled armored vehicles, pyrotechnics, battering rams and riot gear. Likewise, he is implementing the group’s recommendation on creating stiffer training requirements for police use of military-style equipment.
Through U.S. Defense and Homeland Security Department grants, San Luis Obispo County law enforcement agencies have acquired items including armored vehicles, assault rifles, body armor and surveillance equipment.
Both the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and the San Luis Obispo police Department have acquired Lenco Bearcats, which are armored vehicles larger in size than Hummers. The regional SWAT team has used the Bearcat when responding to incidents in which armed residents barricaded themselves in buildings.