WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order reviving a program that provided local police departments with surplus military equipment such as high-caliber weapons and grenade launchers, despite past concerns that armored vehicles and other gear were inflaming confrontations with protesters.
The directive Trump signed Monday repeals Obama-era limitations on police agencies’ access to camouflage uniforms, bullet-proof vests, riot shields, firearms, ammunition and other items. The policy change is another way in which Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are enacting a law-and-order agenda that sees federal support of local police as key to driving down violent crime.
Sessions announced Trump’s decision to roaring applause Monday at a national convention of the Fraternal Order of Police, one of the groups that had urged Trump to restore the military program.
Restrictions put in place by former President Barack Obama “went too far,” Sessions said. “We will not put superficial concerns above public safety.”