Opinion: Police officers should be allowed to use surplus military gear

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at the Fraternal Order of Police convention Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. Sessions said President Donald Trump will revive a program that provides local police departments with surplus military equipment such as high-caliber weapons and grenade launchers. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - The police protect our communities.

Police officers should have access to all equipment reasonably available to them.

To that end, the Trump administration is again allowing the Defense Department to provide local police departments with certain surplus military gear.

This program had been in place since 1990 and enabled local law enforcement to receive more than $5 billion in gear that was otherwise going to be scrapped.

President Obama restricted the sharing of surplus military equipment following the 2014 unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Trump administration is allowing for the police to again start receiving heavy gear such as armored vehicles, ammunition and large-caliber weapons.

This policy is a step toward maximizing the ability of our men and women in blue to both stay safe and keep us secure. There is some justifiable concern of our local police becoming overly militarized.

In using this program, local police departments should require that all officers are specifically trained before putting any of the military gear to work. There should also be detailed guidelines for when and how the repurposed equipment will be used.

There have been positive effects experienced by local police who have received the surplus equipment.

It has led to reductions in street level crime, citizen complaints, and assaults on officers, according to two articles published in the American Economic Journal and cited by the Department of Justice.

Here's the bottom line: our police protect us and we need to protect the police. Allowing for surplus military equipment to be properly used by police departments in your communities is both efficient and logical.

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