WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will announce Monday that he will limit a federal program that provides military equipment to law enforcement, administration officials say.
The move comes after the uproar caused by the deaths of of deaths of black men by police or in police custody in the last year.
Obama will make the announcement during a visit to Camden, N.J., a city administration officials say improved relations between police and residents after a period of high crime and mistrust.
Last year, Obama asked Congress $263 million over three years to increase use of body-worn cameras, expand training for law enforcement and increase the number of cities where the Department of Justice works with local police. But he didn’t make significant changes to a federal program that provides military equipment to law enforcement, despite complaints after police with riot gear and assault-style weapons responded to protesters of the Ferguson, Mo. shooting.
A task force he created recommended that local police should be prohibited from using federal money to acquire items, including tracked armored vehicles, hih-caliver firearms and ammunition and camouflage uniforms. It also recommended new restrictions on other military-style items, including wheeled armored vehicles, pyrotechnics and battering rams and riot gear.
“The idea is to make sure that we strike a balance in providing the equipment, which is appropriate and useful and important for local law enforcement agencies to keep the community safe, while at the same time putting standards in place,” said Cecilia Muñoz, director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council.
Obama on Monday will announce $163 million in grants to urge police departments to adopt the suggestions.
--ANITA KUMAR, McClatchy White House correspondent