Bayonets, weaponized vehicles and grenade launchers are no longer available to local police under a new presidential task force on the militarization of law enforcement released today, Politico reports. If local cops want riot gear and other types of armored vehicles, they're must meet many new standards for training and data collection. The images of police in armored vehicles and camouflage uniforms confronting protesters in Ferguson, Mo., last summer brought new scrutiny to federal programs that transfer military gear to local law enforcement officials. The outcry came not only from civil-rights groups but also Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID). The departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Securities to re-examine the programs. What they found were “no consistent standards” for local police who wanted this equipment, said Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz, “There wasn't a single federal strategy.”
The Obama administration is making camouflage off-limits for urban departments, and local cops will have to make the case that they really need those armored vehicles going forward. An effort to make relations between cops and communities less combative has become a central White House mission, and with the release of broader recommendations for “21st Century Policing,” the White House is gearing up to temper the scenes of chaos in Ferguson and Baltimore with its plan for more dialogue and data. After President Obama's visit toay to the county police headquarters in Camden, N.J., his cabinet will fan out across the country to highlight other success stories over the next few weeks, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch will start her own community policing tour in Cincinnati.