President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the federal program that allows local police departments to acquire surplus military vehicles and equipment. The action follows criticism by the media and community members of the police response to the Ferguson, Mo., protests, various news sources reported.
The review will assess where the program is appropriate and whether officers using the equipment receive the training needed to use them, according to MSNBC.
The Defense Logistics Agency oversees the 1033 program, which has transferred more than $5.1 billion worth of excess Department of Defense property to local law enforcement agencies since its inception, data on the DLA’s website stated.
In addition to weapons, aircraft, and non-tactical items, the program also provides tactical and armored vehicles. Many public agencies have used this program to acquire armored vehicles such as Mine Resistant Ambush Proof (MRAP) vehicles and Humvees.
Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told WUSA she does not want the program to be discontinued, stating that armored vehicles can be used to safely get through an area in the event of a sniper or shooter.
In Iowa, some citizens have formed a group opposing what it considers the militarization of Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, which added an MRAP last year, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.
In an online poll Government Fleet conducted this summer, half of respondents said they believe military vehicles are necessary in a police fleet. About half of respondents said they have one or more in their police fleets.