Obama Limits Police Use of Military Equipment

Obama Limits Police Use of Military EquipmentObama Limits Police Use of Military Equipment

US President Obama banned the sale of certain kinds of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, following widespread criticism of a paramilitary-like response to riots in a St. Louis suburb last August.

In doing so, Obama put his stamp on the recommendations of a multi-agency federal working group that recommended banning sales of some military equipment and providing more training, supervision and oversight of others, USA Today reported.

The White House released details of the actions in advance of Obama's speech Monday in Camden, N.J., where he was expected to highlight a wide range of administration initiatives to fight crime, improve police-community relations and improve transparency in policing.

Banned will be tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, camouflage uniforms and large caliber weapons.

Other kinds of equipment will be available to most police departments as long as they meet national policing standards, track their use and receive approval from the federal government before selling or transferring it.

Items on the controlled equipment list include aircraft, wheeled tactical vehicles, mobile command-and-control units, battering rams and riot gear.

To be eligible to purchase controlled equipment, agencies must adopt "robust and specific written policies and protocols" covering not just the use of the federal equipment, but their policing practices in general.

In a report released Monday, the working group noted that many police departments increasingly rely on the federal government for equipment as local budgets are strained. "Yet, in some neighborhoods and communities, incidents of misuse, overuse, and inappropriate use of controlled equipment occur, and the resulting strain placed on the community and its relationship with law enforcement is severe," the report said.

Obama's remarks in Camden will be the fourth time in as many weeks that he has held an event to discuss his ideas for improving life for poor black communities.