Police departments and sheriffs’ offices in central Florida are unhappy with President Obama‘s recent ban on military-style equipment for non-military use following massive riots in Ferguson, Miss. and elsewhere.
Following countless videos of protests devolving into mass riots in Baltimore and Ferguson last spring, Obama issued an executive order banning the use of cannonless tanks. These massive vehicles were acquired by police departments across the country via the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which helped local law enforcement agencies request and attain military-grade equipment. Now that they can’t use these popular tanks anymore, however, several cops and sheriffs are speaking out.
As the Orlando Sentinel reports, officers like Sgt. Gary Gross of the Lakeland Police Department don’t think the tank ban is “a huge loss.” However, others like Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson are speaking out against the White House.
“You have to have some kind of equipment to protect your people and the public,” said Johnson. “In today’s society, we’ve had active shootings, we’ve had school shootings, we’ve had mall shootings. You have to have equipment to be able to take care of the people. A rescue vehicle.”
The sheriff then cites a local example of a slain officer who, had the authorities had access to these types of vehicles then, could have been saved. “People will die because of this decision,” he emphasized.
Despite his consternation, however, Johnson emphasized that these armored vehicles have had a negative impact on the public’s perception of police. Ultimately he stressed that the need to use these kinds of vehicles is for rescue only, and not for riot control.
Check out the clip above, via FOX 35 Orlando.
[h/t Orlando Sentinel]
[Image via screengrab]
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