In a case of particularly bad timing, an Obama administration executive order recalling surplus military equipment being used by state and local police is about to strip Michigan law enforcement of an armored vehicle it has utilized for over a decade.
Earlier this year, President Obama ordered the recall of, among other items, tracked vehicles being used by law enforcement that were obtained through the federal government's 1033 Program.
That program has allowed domestic law enforcement to obtain surplus military equipment, such as armored vehicles.
The president’s unilateral decision was largely seen as a reaction to public criticism of the so-called “militarized” police response to protests in Ferguson, MO and elsewhere.
Counties surrounding Detroit are now set to return a tracked, armored vehicle they had been using for over a decade, and law enforcement officials are not pleased with the turn of events.
“It really upsets me. We have a great asset. We have not abused it and in just a blanket order we can no longer have it,” said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.
The return of the armored vehicle comes just days after a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA. highlighted how vital it is for local law enforcement to have the proper equipment needed to combat 21st century threats.
The suspects in San Bernardino employed long guns and tactical body armor. Law enforcement in that case relied heavily on armored vehicles and other appropriate equipment to neutralize those suspects.
A similarly dangerous active shooter situation unfolded only a week earlier in Colorado Springs, CO.
Given the changing threat dynamic facing state and local law enforcement, exemplified by not only the massacre in San Bernardino but also the deplorable act of terror in Paris last month, now is not the time to take needed equipment away from the men and women who will be on the front lines protecting our communities.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, “We're actually taking away a proven asset from law enforcement all over the country, destroying on many levels our ability to handle a very big situation, any situation like Paris. Those are going to be handled by the local police and this is the type of equipment needed."
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