Local police: Obama's new restrictions on police military gear w - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Local police: Obama's new restrictions on police military gear won't really affect us that much

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Obama Administration will ban the federal transfer of some types of military hardware to local police departments. 

The move comes after scrutiny to the so-called militarized police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri last year.

President Obama said Monday military equipment can create the wrong impression. 

"We'll prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for local police departments," Obama said. 

Local police departments will be able to buy the now banned equipment from private sellers.

Detective Justin Rolland with the Craighead County Sheriff's Department said Obama's announcement does not affect the department that much. 

Rolland said Craighead County officers do not solely rely on the federal government's surplus program for daily operations.

Through the program, the department acquired one armored vehicle and four weapons for its 40 deputies.

The federal government will no longer fund or provide equipment like weaponized aircraft or vehicles, bayonets or camouflage uniforms. However, Rolland said that does not apply to his department. 

Instead, Obama's announcement will implement tighter federal government control on the equipment the Craighead County Sheriff's Department already has.

"It'll consist of training requirements, making sure that the policy procedure manuals are in place according to whatever type of equipment the agency is acquiring and things like that," Rolland said. "So when he made the announcement, it didn't affect us too much."

It looks like Obama's announcement will also not really affect equipment in other Region 8 sheriff's departments. 

According to the Arkansas Law Enforcement Support Office, this is how much military surplus equipment several departments received from the federal government in the past year: 

  • Cross: 26 Weapons
  • Independence: 61 Weapons, 1 Vehicle
  • Greene/Randolph: 3 Utility Trucks
  • Sharp: 12 Weapons 
  • Lawrence: Weapons, Laptops, Night Vision Gear, Vehicles and more 

Starting in October, these departments will also have to get approval from their city council, mayor or some other local governing body to obtain some of this equipment.

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