Trump executive order will give more military gear to police
WASHINGTON D.C. - Attorney General Jeff Sessions says a new executive order restoring the flow of surplus military gear to local police departments will boost public safety.
Sessions said President Donald Trump is ending restrictions on a program that provides cast-off equipment such as high-caliber firearms, grenade launchers and helicopters to local and state police agencies.
It's a step civil liberties groups fear will lead to more violent confrontations among police and protesters. But the Trump administration believes the program is necessary for public safety.
Sessions announced the plan to a cheering crowd at the national convention of the Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville on Monday.
The Obama administration severely limited the program in 2015 amid public outcry over how the equipment was used after protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Sessions said those restrictions went too far. He said the Trump administration will not put "superficial concerns" over public safety.
Police groups say they need the equipment to keep officers safe.
A summary of Trump's executive order, which is being circulated among police groups, says the executive order shows he values safety over appearances. It describes much of the gear as "defensive in nature," intended to protect officers.