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White House and DOJ Impose Limits to Stem the Militarization of Local Police Departments

May 18, 2015 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

After an intense review of policing around the country, the President is making it harder for cops to acquire weapons of war.

The increasing militarization of local police departments has been one of the most troubling issues to gain widespread notice in the wake of uprisings in Baltimore and Ferguson. In response to justified fears and concerns about police use of military-grade weapons of war against American citizens, the White House today announced it will place new limits on the acquisition of some military equipment by police around the country. In some cases, the Executive Order will outright ban federal funds for local police purchase of certain kinds of military-style weapons. In other cases, it will significantly limit access to some of those weapons.

These plans are the result of the findings from the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, a group assembled last December after tensions between police and many of the communities they serve were revealed. According to a White House press release distributed this morning, the new policies can be used to help “build and maintain the all-important trust between the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day, and the communities they have sworn to serve and protect.”

Following a top-to-bottom review of federal programs which fund and support equipment for local police departments, the White House issued an executive order preventing further transfers of tracked armored vehicles (tanks), weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, .50-caliber or higher firearms and ammunition, and camouflage uniforms.”

A second list of equipment to which access will continue but be more tightly restricted and monitored includes ”armored vehicles with wheels—not tank treads—like Humvees, other tactical aircraft, riot batons and battering rams, specialized firearms and ammunition below .50 caliber weapons that are not part of routinely issued police arms, and riot helmets and shields.”

The White House’s executive order will require local police departments and municipal officials to justify why they need the weaponry, undergo additional training if they get it, and then track its use and report those activities to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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