Police groups helping to shape President Trump’s law-and-order agenda have their eyes on military equipment banned by the previous administration and tougher laws on violence against officers, reports the Wall Street Journal. The nation’s biggest police unions say they now have the ear of the White House. If their advocacy is successful, it would represent a return to more aggressive policing tactics of the past. Police unions expect Trump to fulfill a promise and rescind former President Obama’s 2015 order that banned police from acquiring tank-like armored vehicles, grenade launchers and other equipment from the federal government. “We’re going to … ask him to deliver,” said Chuck Canterbury of the Fraternal Order of Police, with 333,000 members.
The union’s executive board met yesterday with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. An executive order issued by Trump last month called for stiffer penalties for harming officers, echoing recommendations made by police unions to the Trump transition team, says William Johnson of the National Association of Police Organizations, a coalition of unions and associations representing 240,000 officers. In the Obama era, law-enforcement unions chafed over criticism they felt was overly broad and disparaging following several police shootings of unarmed minorities, some of which triggered large community protests. Charles Ramsey, a former Philadelphia police chief who was a co-chairman of an Obama task force on policing, said unions “have one constituency—that’s the rank-and-file officer and that’s going to be their priority, not necessarily what’s in the best interest of the public.”