The Franklin County Commission approved an application between the Multi-County Narcotics and Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit (MCNVCEU) and the U.S. Department of Defense that will allow the unit access to surplus military equipment.
Commander of the unit, Sgt. Scott Reed said the unit has not received any surplus equipment for many years, but did get a HumVee in the past.
The agreement is part of a state plan of operation in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Public Safety giving law enforcement access to aircraft, armored vehicles, tactical vehicles, command and control vehicles, specialized firearms and ammunition, explosives/pyrotechnics, breaching apparatus, riot batons, riot helmets and riot shields.
To qualify for the equipment there is a long list of rules and regulations agencies must follow to receive the military equipment.
Since the 1990s more than $5 billion worth of surplus military equipment has been issued to first response agencies nationwide.
This flow of equipment was restricted after its use came under national scrutiny two years ago after clashes between police and rioters in Ferguson.
In August, President Donald Trump issued an executive order undoing restrictions set in place by his predecessor.
A statement released by the Trump administration at the time of the executive order reopening the surplus floodgates said it “sends the message that we care more about public safety than about how a piece of equipment looks, especially when that equipment has been shown to reduce crime, reduce complaints against and assaults on police, and make officers more effective.”
In May 2015, then President Barack Obama issued an executive order for federal agencies to review the types of equipment they provide to local and state police and prohibiting specific types of gear issued.
At the time, Obama said the visual of police agencies utilizing the military style equipment in civilian settings gave the impression of an “occupying force.”
Obama’s banned list included: tank-like armored vehicles that move on tracks, certain types of camouflage uniforms, bayonets, firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or higher, grenade launchers, and weaponized aircraft.
The Executive Order also created the Task Force on 21st Century Policing to determine ways to strengthen public trust and better relationships between local law enforcement and communities which encouraged police to embrace a “guardian, instead of a warrior mindset.”