Police in Florida are complaining that the Obama Administration is recalling military-style tanks that many have complained made American city streets look like foreign war zones during unrest in places like Ferguson, Missouri last year.
Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said losing an M113 — an armored personnel carrier — will result in some of his officers going on “suicide missions,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.
“People will die because of this decision,” Johnson told the paper.
Volusia County still has another tank, an MRAP — Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. But the difference is the M113 has tracks instead of wheels that allow it to travel in terrains wheels won’t go.
“The idea that our president will take this stuff away from us, the M113 (armored personnel carrier), puts not only our deputies in harm’s way but the citizens in harm’s way,” Johnson fumed to the News-Journal. “It’s obvious from some of the decisions he’s made that he really doesn’t care a whole lot about law enforcement officers.”
The federal government’s program of selling excess military hardware to local police departments at deep discounts has faced growing criticism. Volusia County’s M113, for example, was purchased 11 years ago for $1,500, the News-Journal reports. A total of 126 similar tanks have been recalled.
Scrutiny of the program intensified after images from the unrest in Ferguson showed local police decked out in desert military camouflage, pointing assault weapons at unarmed civilians and rolling around in tanks. Many pointed out that the gear was not only further inflaming the situation, but that the police weren’t trained in how to properly use them.
After Ferguson, President Obama said the federal government would no longer provide military hardware like tanks and grenade launchers to police departments, NBC News reported. Police will have to submit to stringent federal oversight if they want less heavy-handed military gear.
Watch the report, via Fox35, here: