As terrorist threats mount, law enforcement agencies are outraged as the Obama administration is pulling military equipment away from them.
After last year’s riots in Ferguson, Missouri following the death of Michael Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson, President Obama issued an executive order to demilitarize the police, Fox News reported.
“These things are useful tools and the president taking them away will put more officers in jeopardy and at risk of harm or even death. I don’t know how he can sleep at night knowing his actions will have those repercussions,” Alabama Republican Rep. Mike Rogers told Fox News.
The order given by the president put restrictions on which equipment, formerly used by the military, could be given to local police forces under the 1033 program which was created by the Dept. of Defense in 1997.
Law enforcement agencies have until April 1, 2016 to return the military surplus that many sheriffs say has been very helpful.
Sheriff Mike Bouchard of Oakland County, Michigan explained to Fox News that his officers used such equipment to evacuate residents from a man who was shooting from windows in his home at other houses.
The armored vehicle they used also prevented officers from being shot, he said.
“There’s no question that saved lives,” Bouchard, who previously ran for governor, told Fox News. “We have letters from people we evacuated saying ‘we don’t know what you could have done to save us without that armored vehicle.’”
“(President Obama’s) verbiage calls these tanks. These aren’t tanks. There is no offensive weaponry mounted on a tracked armored vehicle in any police department. These are big safe boxes,” he said.
Because of the prohibitive cost of most of these vehicles may smaller police departments cannot afford to pay for them themselves.
“Our agency is not big, we have a total of 130 employees, and we don’t have quarter-of-a-million-dollar budget to buy one,” Calhoun County, Alabama Sheriff Larry Amerson told Fox News.
“As has been demonstrated in Paris, the potential for those kind of attacks is there, and the response to those attacks in the U.S. will be local law enforcement and whatever resources we have on hand now will be what we can bring to the table if that happens,” he added.
Cass County, N.D Sheriff Paul Laney said “sheriffs are very angry” at Obama’s decision.
“It’s a tool in our toolbox being taken away from us based on perception. When we show up with a piece of equipment to save lives it can’t always look safe and cozy,” he said.
Watch a report from Fox News below.
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