The deputy police chief in Dallas told Fox News over the weekend that Americans had the misperception that police forces were over-militarized because departments had not painted armored vehicles blue.
During an interview about the unrest after Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro pointed out to Dallas Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz that “the perceived militarization is a problem.”
Aziz argued, however, that police departments were not over-militarized, and that people were more concerned about the misapplication of military equipment that was procured through Department of Defense programs.
“There are a lot of applications for it,” he insisted. “What is catching so much attention is the misapplication or the misuse or the deployment of it. And I’ve heard that from around the United States.”
Pirro observed that some of the images from Ferguson “could be in a war zone,” but she agreed that officers should have military equipment for hostage situations and terrorism.
“How does the president expect local police departments… to be able to protect people and citizens if they don’t have what they need?” she wondered.
“I don’t have any issue with the president calling for a review [of the Defense Department program],” Aziz said. “Sometimes it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”
But Aziz said that local police department still needed to solve the problem of “misuse or misapplication.”
“And that comes with training,” he continued. “We’re going to have to train police departments to respond. We’re going to have to train leaders, chiefs of police to respond better for leadership and command decisions. And that way, people won’t feel like they don’t have any value or equity in the system when it looks like a war zone.”
Aziz added that “most times it looks like a war zone because they haven’t painted” equipment like armored vehicles and tanks.
“They’re still military colors,” he remarked. “Maybe if they were black or blue, it would change the perception of it. But rolling it out and an unnecessary time, that brings unwanted attention to it, and we’re going to have to be smarter because some of the equipment is needed.”
Watch the video below from Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine, broadcast Aug. 24, 2014.