ACLU, NAACP, oth­ers ask Congress not to al­low mil­i­tary trans­fers to cops

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — An­drea Noble

A coali­tion of lib­eral groups is ask­ing Congress to im­ple­ment a mora­to­rium on a pro­gram that pro­vides sur­plus mil­i­tary equip­ment to lo­cal po­lice de­part­ments un­til law­mak­ers can im­prove over­sight of the pro­gram.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in Au­gust re­pealed Obama-era re­stric­tions on the De­fense De­part­ment’s 1033 pro­gram, which has pro­vided bil­lions of dol­lars of equip­ment rang­ing from night-vi­sion gog­gles to ar­mored ve­hi­cles to lo­cal law en­force­ment.

Ad­vo­cates of po­lice re­form have been crit­i­cal of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion changes, con­cerned they al­low for mil­i­ta­riza­tion of lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies in a man­ner that strains re­la­tion­ships with the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.

“We ask you to ex­er­cise your over­sight re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to en­sure that, if mil­i­tary equip­ment is pro­vided to law en­force­ment, such equip­ment is not overused and mis­used,” the groups, which in­clude the ACLU and the NAACP, wrote to lead­ers of the sev­eral House com­mit­tees.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions an­nounced the pol­icy change, say­ing the Obama-era re­stric­tions went too far.

The changes im­ple­mented by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion scrapped over­sight and train­ing re­quire­ments adopted by Pres­i­dent Obama. They also re­stored de­part­ments’ abil­ity to ac­quire equip­ment that was pre­vi­ously banned — such as bay­o­nets and grenade launch­ers — and did away with re­quire­ments that agen­cies ex­plain the need for other items and ver­ify that of­fi­cers would be trained how to use the equip­ment.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in Au­gust re­pealed Obama-era re­stric­tions on a pro­gram that pro­vides mil­i­tary equip­ment to lo­cal law en­force­ment. Lib­eral groups seek a mora­to­rium.

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