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LA County sheriff: Military equipment must be restored for police use only

Federal officials need to recover from a Obama-era order that has limited access to a number of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said Wednesday.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell told members of the House Judiciary Committee that the civil servants must restore the flow of additional military equipment to ensure the officials are not in danger if you respond to an active shooter calls and terrorist attacks. McDonnell said it is critical for the government to reconsider the curtailment of a program that allows military-style equipment, including military grenade launchers, bayonets, armored vehicles and high-powered firearms and ammunition, the state and the local police.

WITH THE TRUMPET, POLICE HOPE TO DEPLOY MILITARY GEAR IS PROHIBITED UNDER OBAMA

In 2015, the then-President Barack Obama has an executive order that cut in the program, limiting the access to some surplus military equipment after the outrage over the use of military clothing when the police confronted protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown. The police used riot gear and deployed tear gas, dogs and armored vehicles, and, sometimes, pointed assault rifles at protesters.

Since the executive order was entered, the Defense Logistics Agency called hundreds of pieces of surplus equipment that was provided to law enforcement agencies through the program.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo disagrees, tell the members of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and the Research that he is not a problem with the program, but said that the police departments must adopt policies to ensure that the excess equipment is correctly used. He added that the equipment can also be used during natural disasters or major floods.

State and local police organizations have insisted that military-style gear and vehicles to help protect officers and the public.

“In a terrorist attack, who gets the call? People call 911 and the local police show up,” McDonnell said. “We can’t expect our people to be successful in our efforts to do that if we don’t give of the right equipment to protect them in that effort.”

OUTRAGE AS MILITARY VEHICLES, AND EQUIPMENT OF OFFICERS IN THE WAKE OF OBAMA ORDER

Through the program, Los Angeles sheriff’s officials have received, armored vehicles, ballistic vests and helmets, McDonnell said. Records show the sheriff’s department also received at least one mine-resistant vehicle as part of the program.

Some of the departments have not made use of their equipment “in a way that the public would be satisfied with,” McDonnell said, adding that the police agencies need to implement strict guidelines for when the equipment is used.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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