White House reviewing programs that equip local police with military gear

BY Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press  August 23, 2014 at 6:02 PM EST
For days, police in the St. Louis suburb wore camouflage, riot gear and helmets and carried assault rifles and ammunition. Photo by Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

For days, police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., wore camouflage, riot gear and helmets and carried assault rifles and ammunition. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

EDGARTOWN, Mass. — The White House is conducting a review of programs that have equipped local police departments with military gear from the Pentagon, urged by President Barack Obama’s call for more separation between the nation’s armed forces and civilian law enforcement.

The examination comes in the aftermath of the police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police killing of an unarmed black man.

Two senior administration officials say the review will examine whether the programs are appropriate; the amount of training provided for using military equipment, and how well the government audits the use of the money and equipment by local police departments.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the review by name.