Mean Obama Won't Let Cops Play With All Their Badass Military Toys
Just like some mean federal consumer agency taking away all the lawn darts, Killjoy-In-Chief Barack Obama has ended the practice of sending high-end surplus military equipment to local police departments, which is going to put a real damper on the Mayberry P.D.'s plans for an armored assault on Miss Jennifer and Miss Clarabelle's still. The restrictions were recommended by a task force Obama created in January, which determined that police departments didn't really need certain types of military-grade equipment, such as "tracked armored vehicles, the highest-caliber firearms and ammunition, and camouflage uniforms."
Well that's just great. Now how are the cops of Ferguson, Missouri, supposed to blend in with the surrounding jungle or desert terrain?
Obama announced the changes during a visit to Camden, New Jersey, where reforms have been aimed at developing less shooty relationships between police and residents; the trip coincided with the release of the task force's final report Monday. The report calls for law enforcement to “embrace a guardian -- rather than a warrior -- mind-set to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies and with the public.” Needless to say, that will be translated on Fox News into a call for police forces to just hug criminals instead of busting heads like everyone knows they're supposed to.
In addition to banning the most aggressive equipment, the new federal guidelines restrict other military toys for police departments, requiring additional training and reporting on how departments use surplus equipment like "wheeled armored vehicles, pyrotechnics, battering rams and riot gear" -- it's almost as if Obama doesn't want police departments to have anything nice anymore. Beyond restricting the use of cool shiny weapons, the administration will offer grants to train police departments in cooperating with communities to reduce crime, and for purchases of body cameras, widely regarded as the lame rubber-tipped safety darts of policing.
The nice folks at rightwing blog Hot Air have already condemned the equipment restrictions as likely to be dangerous, and mocked Obama for going to Camden, which it described as a "war zone," adding that if "there’s one police force in the nation that could use some military style gear, it’s probably Camden’s." (To its credit, even Hot Air was puzzled as to why local police departments need grenade launchers, so there's that.) And not surprisingly, the national Fraternal Order of Police has condemned the new policy, claiming that any restrictions on the use of military gear will endanger officers' lives, and also won't be nearly as much fun as zooming around in old tanks.
[NYT / Hot Air / Politico / President's Task Force On 21st Century Policing]
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