Florida Sheriff Says “People Will Die” Under Obama’s Military Gear Recall


Some Florida sheriffs are unhappy about the federal government’s forcing them to return tanks they had obtained from the military, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The White House ban on military-style equipment is forcing 11 Florida agencies to return all tanks they received years ago after the items were declared surplus equipment by the federal government. President Obama acted after riots in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore drew out police officers in full riot gear with high-powered rifles and armored vehicles, making some city streets appear more like battlefields. Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, who must also give up his agency’s tracked vehicle, said the ban could be detrimental and even deadly. “For some agencies, this is all they can afford,” Johnson said, “leaving their people on potential suicide missions.” Volusia’s tracked vehicle can go through terrain that others with wheels can’t, he said. The department doesn’t use it every day, but it has taken bullets for deputies, and the ban is “taking a valuable piece of equipment out of our fleet,” he said. “People will die because of this decision.”

Osceola County Sheriff Bob Hansell said he’s disappointed with the ban. and said not having a tank will have an effect on certain operations. “This vehicle is used to rescue citizens and protect deputies against armed aggressor(s) during critical incidents,” he said. “Law enforcement is trained and experienced to effectively utilize this equipment and it will have an impact on our responses to emergency situations.” In all, 126 tracked vehicles have been recalled from agencies across the country, says the Department of Defense. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance helped develop a plan for implementing the ban, which also prohibits agencies from having grenade launchers, firearms more than .50 caliber and weaponized aircraft, among other items deemed “militaristic in nature.”

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