Obama Creates New Police Standards, Bans Military Equipment for Local Police Agencies
WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) — President Barack Obama announced federal program standards creating methods to improve trust between police and communities that also ban some types of military-style equipment for local police agencies.
Obama will speak of the measures on Monday in Camden, N.J., a city that has struggled with one of the country’s highest violent crime rates.
“President Obama believes that in America everyone should be empowered by the country they call home, not limited by the zip code into which they are born,” a statement released by the White House said. “Changes include increasing the number of police officer boots on the ground and changing the way their officers interact with the community.”
Tools cities can utilize will be presented as part of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing program that can be used to “build and maintain the all-important trust between the law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day, and the communities they have sworn to serve and protect.”
The White House announced a list of items that are banned from being acquired by local police under select federal programs.
“This list includes tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, and large-caliber firearms,” the White House said in the statement, but law enforcement agencies will be able to acquire, under more rigorous controls, “armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, riot gear, and specialized firearms and ammunition.”
A blueprint for improved community policing was also announced that will help cities and towns “develop policing strategies that work best for building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve while enhancing public safety.”
The Department of Justice will also begin taking applications for grants “designed to advance the practice of community policing in law enforcement agencies.”
The White House will attempt to create improved methods of using data and technology “in ways that build community trust and reduce unnecessary uses of force.”
The Department of Justice recently announced a new program that will help local law enforcement agencies implement the use of body-worn cameras on officers, which will be further supported by the White House.