Rand Paul: Line between police, military being blurred

Rand Paul: Line between police, military being blurred
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria MORE (R-Ky.) is urging President Trump to reconsider his decision to lift Obama-era limits on the transfer of surplus military equipment to local police forces.

In an op-ed published Monday in The New York Post, Paul called the president's decision "a mistake," arguing that the line between local law enforcement officers and soldiers is "eroding."

"To support our local police, we must first realize they aren’t soldiers. But today the line between the two is being eroded," he wrote.

"Given these developments, it’s natural for many Americans — especially minorities, given the racial disparities in policing — to feel like their government is targeting them. Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice isn’t paying close enough attention," Paul added.

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He also announced plans to introduce a measure when Congress returns from its recess that would bar the transfer of military equipment from the federal government to state and local law enforcement agencies.

That ban, he writes, would only apply to offensive equipment and would allow the federal government to give defensive equipment, like body armor, to local and state law enforcement agencies.

That the federal government is willing and able to give such surplus military equipment to local police departments signals a massive overreach of power and erodes trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they're charged with policing, Paul writes.

Trump signed an executive order Monday lifting limits imposed by former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama puts out call for service on MLK Day: ‘Make a positive impact on the world’ Trump, Pence visit MLK Memorial Trump offers to limit his border wall to strategic locations MORE after police in Ferguson, Mo., used military-style equipment to confront protesters in 2014.