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Possible end to militarized police, coming soon

Possible to end military sending local police used military grade equipment

Ferguson Police

Ferguson Police response to rioting | CREDIT: Wiki Commons

After days of police responding with armored vehicles and military equipment, questions have been raised on whether the Defense Department should be sending local police around the country military equipment.

President Obama addressed the Defense Department program saying “There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred.” The program in question is Department of Defense Excess Property Program. Items issued to participating agencies are aircraft, four-wheel drive vehicles and armored personnel carriers. More than 8,000 agencies at al levels of government participate in the program

Obama spoke at the White House during a break from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Obama walked a thin line when he discussed the continued violence in Ferguson, Missouri over the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer. He said that demonstrators are peacefully protesting but did say a “small minority” are not. Obama addressed the looters and those attacking officers and said “their behavior undermines justice. On the other side of the coin, he also said that “there’s no excuse for excessive force by police.”

Lawmakers both Republicans and Democrats have begun to question the program in the wake of the continued unrest. Rand Paul recently slammed the program in a Time op-ed saying that militarization of the police ‘allows the police to become judge and jury’ making it ‘almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them.’ Obama is in support of re-examining the program. Obama shared his sympathy for the “passions and anger” stirred by the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. He focused on the need to overcome the mistrust between many communities and local police.

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