By Abigail R. Hall-Blanco | 13 January 2017
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER — In May 2015, in the wake of protests about police killings throughout the U.S., President Obama issued an executive order that restricted police departments’ access to certain surplus military gear, including armored vehicles, grenade launchers and combat weapons.
During his campaign Donald Trump said, “I will rescind” Obama’s executive order because Program 1033, the Department of Defense initiative that allows police to obtain such equipment at little to no cost, is “an excellent program that enhances community safety.”
While no one knows exactly what President Trump will do, the discussion over the weapons, equipment and tactics used by police departments brings to light an important, yet often ignored, trend: Police have come to look and act like soldiers.
Over the past 30 years police departments across the U.S. have acquired large quantities of military equipment. Moreover, police departments have begun to dress like the military, donning “battle dress uniforms” as opposed to traditional police uniforms. Police have also adopted questionable military tactics like no-knock raids. […]