The announcement of the executive order will take place at the annual conference for the National Fraternal Order of Police who are relieved that this change is occurring. The President of the organization had this to say.
“The previous administration was more concerned about the image of law enforcement being too ‘militarized' than they were about our safety,” Congress originally launched the so-called “1033 program” in 1990 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which allowed the Defense Department to transfer surplus hardware and equipment to state and local law enforcement for use in “counter-drug activities.”The recycled gear included equipment the agencies would normally be unable to afford and the original program has resulted in the transfer of more than $5.4 billion worth of gear since the 1990s.
It's no secret that there are groups in society that disagree with this latest development. Activist groups around the country are not pleased that this order will be taking place.
Civil rights groups blasted the policy shift, saying the Obama-era guidelines were critical to rebuilding trust with communities of color.
A Trump administration document describing the policy shift says that it “sends the message that we care more about public safety than about how a piece of equipment looks, especially when that equipment has been shown to reduce crime, reduce complaints against and assaults on police, and make officers more effective.”
While rebuilding trust in these communities is key as tensions rise many feel that the danger is not in the equipment and the focus should shift on other preventative measures such as stronger, more in depth psychological testing prior to entrance into any police program and annual psych evaluations for officers.
While nothing is error proof there has to be a balance between bridging the gap between the community, protecting our citizens and our officers.
Hopefully one day soon we will find it.