Lawmakers don't want military equipment kept from police
Six Republican members of Michigan's Congressional delegation want President Barack Obama to rescind his order requiring state and local law enforcement to return some armored vehicles and grenade launchers to a federal military surplus program. In a letter sent yesterday to the president, the U.S. Reps. said, "Of particular assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies in Michigan is the tracked armored vehicle." The letter was signed by Reps. Mike Bishop, Bill Huizenga, Candice Miller, John Moolenaar, Dave Trott and Fred Upton.
Rep. Miller said local police need the best equipment in active shooter, hostage and terrorist situations. "His [Obama's] executive order to repo all of this surplus Department of Defense equipment that is all throughout the entire country, I think, is not only misguided, I think it's dangerous," said Miller. "This is an issue to keep our first responders safe and our communities safe."
According to Michelle McCaskill, a spokesperson for the Defense Logistics Agency which oversees the military surplus program, the items being recalled represent a small fraction of military equipment that has been distributed to law enforcement.
McCaskill said 126 tracked armored vehicles are being recalled nationwide, and other armored vehicles with wheels can be requested as replacements as they become available, although there currently is a waiting list.
Earlier this year, Obama ended long-running transfers of some combat-style equipment to police in response to concerns about the militarization of local law enforcement, and in an effort to ease tensions between police and minority communities.