Obama Changes Policy On Military Equipment To Police Departments

This is actually a good idea, one which I suspect most can agree with

(AP) In a surprise announcement coming nine months after police in riot gear dispelled racially charged protests, President Barack Obama is banning the federal government from providing some military-style equipment to local departments and putting stricter controls on other weapons and gear distributed to law enforcement.

The announcement comes after the White House suggested last year that Obama would maintain programs that provide the type of military-style equipment used to respond to demonstrators last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, because of their broader contribution to public safety. But an interagency group found “substantial risk of misusing or overusing” items like tracked armored vehicles, high-powered firearms and camouflage could undermine trust in police. (snip)

In previewing the president’s trip, the White House said that effective immediately, the federal government will no longer fund or provide armored vehicles that run on a tracked system instead of wheels, weaponized aircraft or vehicles, firearms or ammunition of .50-caliber or higher, grenade launchers, bayonets or camouflage uniforms. The federal government also is exploring ways to recall prohibited equipment already distributed.

In addition, a longer list of equipment the federal government provides will come under tighter control, including wheeled armored vehicles like Humvees, manned aircraft, drones, specialized firearms, explosives, battering rams and riot batons, helmets and shields. Starting in October, police will have to get approval from their city council, mayor or some other local governing body to obtain it, provide a persuasive explanation of why it is needed and have more training and data collection on the use of the equipment.

IMO, in most cases, there is no need for the equipment in the 3rd paragraph to be in the hands of local and county police departments. As to the equipment in the 4th paragraph, some of that equipment is certainly needed, such as riot equipment and battering rams, thanks to, yup, policies and actions in Democrat cities by Democrats and their voting base. Much, if not all, of this is in response to Ferguson, and goodly chunk of both Dems and Republicans were upset to see the militarized gear being used against citizens, even as those citizens were rioting. The use of the equipment didn’t actually change the outcome. When one of the armored vehicles showed up to the looting of the CVS in Baltimore (Democrat city), the looters ran off and started looting from the back side of the building.

Obama plans to visit Camden police headquarters before heading to a community center to meet with youth and law enforcement and give a speech. “I’ll highlight steps all cities can take to maintain trust between the brave law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line, and the communities they’re sworn to serve and protect,” Obama said in his weekly address out Saturday.

I wonder if he plans on telling those communities to stop being so criminal and violent? Let’s face it: the equipment and “community policing” policies are not needed in places like Fargo and Portland, as opposed to places like Ferguson and Baltimore.

(Politico) An effort to make relations between cops and communities less combative has become a central mission of President Barack Obama’s last two years in officee, and with Monday’s release of broader recommendations for “21st-Century Policing,” the White House is gearing up to temper the scenes of chaos in Ferguson and Baltimore with its plan for more dialogue and data. After Obama’s visit on Monday to the county police headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, — a role model of improved relations — his Cabinet will fan out across the country during the next few weeks to highlight other success stories, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch will start her own Community Policing tour in Cincinnati.

I’m wondering how Camden is a role model? They may have better relations, but, the national media for violent crime is 3.8, and NJ’s rate is 2.88, yet Camden sits at 25.66, with a 1 in 39 chance of being a victim of violent crime. Camden is over double the NJ rate for property crimes. Similarly, Fresno, California, was also said to be a success story for community policing by the Washington Post. While their violent crime rate is just above the national average (5.14), their property crime rate is a bit higher than Camden’s at 45.82. “Community policing” seems to be more of a feel good type policy as portrayed by the media, where everyone is Kumbayaing and playing basketball in the streets and stuff.

In reality, the police see community policing as identifying the problems in neighborhoods, and looking to stamp them out early. The enablers for the criminal communities, and the criminal communities themselves, see this as a way to get police to back off on arresting low level criminals, turning a blind eye to criminal activity. As one study noted “Friedmann (1992:2) noted that “community policing became a ‘buzz word’ that is taken for granted by professionals and scholars who used the term to replace other terms such as foot patrol, crime prevention, problem-oriented policing, community-oriented policing, police- community relations and more.”” Does it work? Some studies say yes, some say maybe.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

Share this!

Enjoy reading? Share it with your friends!