President Trump now allowing local police to once again have access to military surplus supplies

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Local law enforcement leaders say an executive order allowing them to get military gear-without red tape is long overdue. (KFSN)

Local law enforcement leaders say an executive order allowing them to get military gear-without red tape is long overdue.

"The reality is were going to be utilizing equipment that will keep our officers safe, equipment that will allow us to be able to keep our citizens safe. To be able to do emergency rescues, similar to the equipment they're using right now in Texas to be able to rescue some of those individuals in the floods," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Chief Dyer, speaking from a law enforcement conference out of town, said money budgeted for upgrades in safety equipment and supplies could be used instead to fund more police officers.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims is hoping to get another armored vehicle.

"When we had the Minkler incident where we had a deputy and officer shot, one of the recommendations was that we have a second bearcat in the agency. They are very expensive."

The current armored vehicle is shared by three agencies. It is also 12-years-old, but, it is easy to get in, designed for urban use and easy to maneuver.

Not everyone is for the arming local law enforcement with military hardware. The American Civil Liberties Union is concerned about the lack of oversight now and some of the gear available.

"Not so much about taking all military equipment away from state and local law enforcement. Certainly I think there's an agreement that some items should just never be used to police our local communities-- like grenade launchers and bayonets," said Kanya Bennett with the ACLU.

Neither Dyer nor Mims plans to request grenade launchers, but they are looking for practical tools that offer extra protection for officers and the public.

"There will be personal protective equipment, gas masks, shields that we can utilize at some of the rallies or protests," said Dyer.

Both leaders point to a prime example in San Bernardino, when officers forced to confront a threat after 13 people were killed in a mass shooting at a county office.

"When you bring out this equipment, it is mission specific. that means you bring it out when you need it most. It's not a day by day everyday practice," said Mims.

The armored trucks are expensive so they tend to go fast. Other equipment that is constantly improving, such as night vision goggles, are very desired.

This program initially began in the 1990's to help local officers fight the war on drugs.

Related Topics:
politicsmilitaryfresno police departmentu.s. & worldPresident Donald Trump
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