WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – President Trump wants to put unused military equipment like armored vehicles back into use, giving them to law enforcement agencies. But NAACP leaders say those weapons belong on the battlefield not in communities.
“Local law enforcement should not be militarize. Because it only incites more violence,” said Derrick Johnson, Interim President NAACP.
Johnson point to protests in Ferguson saying armored vehicles and military weapons used escalated situations and hurt relations between police and residents.
“Our goal is to deescalate potential violence to ensure the safety of all. Particularly individuals who are only seeking to assert their first amendment right to speech,” said Johnson.
NAACP leaders say President Trump’s executive order arms police forces for war against the American people. But some law enforcement agencies say the 1033 program helps agencies save money and protect people.
The International Association of Police Chiefs released this statement saying federally‐acquired equipment enhances the safety of officers responding to dangerous or violent situations. Officers say law enforcement agencies use the gear to conduct special operations, disaster assistance and respond to terrorism threats.
While concerns about the use of military equipment remains, the Trump administration says restoring the program ensures officers have the gear to protect and serve and sends a strong message to criminals.