Obama orders review of federal supplies of military weapons to police

The White House-led review will consider whether the government should continue providing such equipment and, if so, whether local authorities have sufficient training to use it appropriately, said senior administration and law enforcement officials. The government will also consider whether it is keeping a close enough watch on equipment inventories, and how the weapons and other gear are used…

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., in a statement released by his office on Saturday, said this equipment “flowed to local police forces because they were increasingly being asked to assist in counterterrorism.” But he also said that “displays of force in response to mostly peaceful demonstrations can be counterproductive,” and so “it makes sense to take a look at whether military-style equipment is being acquired for the right purposes and whether there is proper training on when and how to deploy it.”

For police departments, the money has paid for computers, armored vehicles, body armor, weapons, training and more. In Washington, the only debates were whether the George W. Bush administration was providing equipment fast enough, and whether departments were getting their fair shares.