The Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police union, is fighting back against a White House plan to restrict local police forces' ability to acquire military-style gear, accusing a presidential task force of politicizing officers' safety, Politico reports. Yesterday, the White House announced that bayonets, weaponized vehicles and grenade launchers will no longer be available to local police and that other equipment such as riot gear and other types of armored vehicles would be subject to a more restrictive approval process.
James Pasco, FOP executive director, said he hopes to have a White House meeting as soon as today to discuss his concerns about how the plans could put cops at risk. “The FOP is the most aggressive law enforcement advocacy group in Washington, and we will be at our most aggressive in asserting the need for officer safety and officer rights in any police changes that are to be effected,” Pasco said. He objects to a measure that would require police departments to get permission from city governments to acquire certain equipment, including riot batons, helmets and shields, through federal programs. “We need to only look back to Baltimore to see what happens when officers are sent out ill-equipped in a disturbance situation,” he said. “Because you don't like the optics, you can't send police officers out to be hurt or killed.”