Speaking to the Fraternal Order of Police in Tennessee on Monday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally announced that the Trump administration will restart giving surplus military weapons and equipment to state and local law enforcement.
That’s a mistake.
What kind of equipment are we talking about? Well, Haverhill, Mass., a town of fewer than 65,000, got a nearly 20-ton Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Keene, NH, a town of fewer than 30,000, got an 8-ton armored BearCat. Over 10,000 bayonets have been handed out. Yes, bayonets.
Police work is unquestionably difficult — and often thankless. I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for those who put it all on the line to protect our communities, and I saw their bravery firsthand this summer when Capitol Police officers made all the difference during the attack on our congressional baseball game practice.
To support our local police, we must first realize they aren’t soldiers. But today the line between the two is being eroded.
It’s no surprise you can find big government right at the heart of this problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear.