Allen B. West

Obama turns the screws on local police with sweeping equipment ban

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With the upcoming “Jade Helm” military exercises planned throughout the southwest this July in civilian areas, some folks are concerned the federal government has grander plans than simply a practice session.

“Federalizing the police” seems to come up in conversation – particularly since the Obama administration has been so uncomfortable with local law enforcement actually doing its job (quelling violent riots, looting and mayhem) in recent months.

Now Fox reports “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.”

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“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.”

Ah, an interagency group said there was a RISK of overuse and could undermine TRUST in police. Not that any specific incidences were cited, mind you. Just that maybe down the road there COULD be.

As a result, Fox says “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.”

The way I look at it, if you announce to people with bad intentions that you probably don’t have the full arsenal of equipment to fight back, you are inviting even more bad behavior.

When the police in Baltimore were told by their mayor to stand down and “allow space to destroy,” did the rioters break a few windows and go home after they let off a little steam? Of course not. They destroyed their own community and the livelihoods of many innocent shopkeepers.

Do violent riots occur because the police have heavy equipment? Seems to me it’s the other way around. The police need heavy equipment because there are violent riots.

The Obama administration has done its best mold the military in its own image – a reduced force with rules of engagement that significantly hamper success.

Now he’s sticking his tentacles into our home towns, putting the squeeze on local law enforcement, leaving our guardians and ultimately ourselves more vulnerable to mob rule.

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