President Obama will ban the supply of military-style equipment for police forces, part of Obama’s recent push to improve relations between law enforcement and minority communities in the wake of police shootings of unarmed citizens in several cities across the United States, the New York Times reports.
The action bars police departments “from using federal funds to acquire items that include tracked armored vehicles, the highest-caliber firearms and ammunition, and camouflage uniforms.”
Obama is promoting the new initiative in Camden, N.J., a city once torn apart by mistrust between police and citizens is now pioneering a positive policing approach by replacing its militarized police force with a more community-centered and county-run system of law enforcement.
Coinciding with Obama’s announcement is the release of a report on Monday from Obama’s policing task force that 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.”
Obama is also expected to announce $163 million in grants to incentivize police departments to adopt the task force’s recommendations, including using body-cameras.
Obama’s strong action on policing and restricting military-style equipment has finally cemented the president’s uneven position on the police brutality issue. He has been criticized in the past for remaining relatively silent regarding the violence and not harshly condemning law enforcement. His decision has now made it starkly clear that Obama is on the people’s side in eradicating police brutality.
The director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice, Ronald L. Davis, applauded Obama’s effort saying, “We have a unique opportunity to redefine policing in our democracy, to ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, but it must also include a presence for justice.”