How Police Organizations Think Trump Can Help Them

December 12th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

National law enforcement advocacy groups are hopeful that President-elect Donald Trump may loosen restrictions on law enforcement's access to military equipment.

The Fraternal Order of Police, an organization made up of officers that often speaks out on issues related to police, endorsed Donald Trump during the election. The national president, Chuck Canterbury, told Politico at the time that Trump “understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again.”

This support came in part after Trump said during the campaign that he would reverse an executive order issued by President Obama that halted certain military-grade technology from being sent from the federal government to state and local police departments.

The executive order came nine months after protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, were met with militarized police forces in the wake of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson.

The order, which recalled some items, also required training and record-keeping if equipment like armored vehicles was used. CBS News explains:

"Since then, the Defense Logistics Agency has recalled 138 grenade launchers, more than 1,600 bayonets and 126 tracked vehicles - those that run on continuous, tank-like tracks instead of wheels - that were provided through the military’s 1033 program, agency spokeswoman Michelle McCaskill said."

Now, groups associated with law enforcement officers, such as the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association, are planning to hold Trump accountable for his promise to ease access to military-grade gear, according to CBS News. Such gear can include grenade launchers, bayonets, and high-powered firearms.

Praise initially came for Obama's executive order across the political spectrum, with the ACLU and libertarian Cato Institute lauding the action. Opponents of police militarization have said that the more of this equipment police officers have, the more likely it will be misused with deadly consequence. The American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU), for example, said that militarized police in normal circumstances “can dangerously escalate situations that need never have involved violence.”

[h/t: CBS News]