The idea of a “militarized” police force can be a frightening idea for some. And for many reasons. In the first place, one might wonder what has become of our cities that it is now necessary for police to use “military” weapons to keep the peace. We look at cities in other parts of the world and worry that such is our fate.
Part of the problem is a poor definition, or no definition, of what “military” weapons are. It’s easy to jump to conclusions. Are we about to see Abrams battle tanks patrolling our streets? Helicopters with deadly missiles flying overhead? Is this our future if the police can get their hands on “military” weapons?
Not likely. Not unless you were used to seeing such things in years past. You see, what we have is the Trump administration simply reversing the restriction that the Obama administration had put in place to prevent police departments from purchasing surplus military gear that was about to junked. It will give police some additional gear to protect them and to use in the event of serious civil unrest.
“The Trump administration is considering overturning an Obama administration policy that banned surplus military equipment being used by local police departments, USA Today reported.
“This policy change would allow police departments around the country to utilize excess military equipment, such as armored vehicles, ‘high-caliber weapons,’ bayonets and grenade launchers.
“‘Assets that would otherwise be scrapped can be re-purposed to help state, local and tribal law enforcement better protect public safety and reduce crime,’ a document obtained by USA Today said.”
Before that list frightens you, keep in mind that this was permitted prior to the restrictions put in place by the Obama administration, and no one saw their local police department firing mortar shells into the neighborhoods under their jurisdiction.
“The equipment sharing program, known as ‘1033 program,’ was created under the National Defense Authorization Act in 1997 and was designed to help local law enforcement agencies with drug investigations, USA Today reported.”
You will note that major drug traffickers often have some very serious weapons at their disposal.
“The program was later expanded to include all local law enforcement operations. Since then, more than $5 million in military equipment has been transferred to state and local police agencies.
“‘Much of the equipment provided through the 1033 program is entirely defensive in nature … that protect officers in active shooter scenarios and other dangerous situations,’ the Trump administration proposal says.”
You are likely to see police officers wearing defensive gear such as body armor and helmets when confronting rioters, or arriving at the scene of a riot in a protective vehicle that is armored. It is important to not let one’s imagination get ahead of oneself.
And it’s important to see this decision in the proper context and not conclude that you’ll see advanced battle tanks patrolling your neighborhood.
Source: The Blaze