The Trump administration is considering overturning an Obama administration policy that banned surplus military equipment being used by local police departments, USA Today reported.
This policy change would allow police departments around the country to utilize excess military equipment, such as armored vehicles, "high-caliber weapons," bayonets and grenade launchers.
"Assets that would otherwise be scrapped can be re-purposed to help state, local and tribal law enforcement better protect public safety and reduce crime,” a document obtained by USA Today said.
The Fraternal Order of Police have advocated for a policy reversal, saying communities that are tight on funds could benefit from the surplus equipment.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to address the FOP on Monday.
Why the equipment sharing began
The equipment sharing program, known as "1033 program," was created under the National Defense Authorization Act in 1997 and was designed to help local law enforcement agencies with drug investigations, USA Today reported.
The program was later expanded to include all local law enforcement operations. Since then, more than $5 million in military equipment has been transferred to state and local police agencies.
"Much of the equipment provided through the 1033 program is entirely defensive in nature ... that protect officers in active shooter scenarios and other dangerous situations," the Trump administration proposal says.
Behind the equipment ban
The Obama administration implemented the policy two years ago after police responded in a "paramilitary" way to riots in St. Louis following the death of Michael Brown, USA Today reported in 2015.
"We've seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they're an occupying force, as opposed to a force that's part of the community that's protecting them and serving them," Obama said in announcing the ban in 2015.