Jul 25 2016

Shelby & Sheriff Amerson to Obama Administration: Reverse Dangerous Restrictions Impacting Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC – Monday, July 25, 2016 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, and Calhoun County Sheriff Larry Amerson today called on President Obama to reverse his dangerous restrictions on the ability of local police departments to have the tools they need to keep our communities safe.  Recent news reports indicate that national law enforcement groups alerted the Obama Administration of their opposition to limitations on the Section 1033 program, especially following the horrific attacks on our nation’s law enforcement in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Kansas City.  The Administration has agreed to review the ban.

The Section 1033 program, which transferred surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies, was valuable to local law enforcement during the terrorist attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino and could be the key to protecting Americans and police from future attacks.  Senator Shelby has pressed the Administration to reverse this directive for months after learning that the President’s actions led to the removal of equipment in Calhoun County.

Sheriff Larry Amerson made this statement, “It is generally overlooked that the President’s order forbids local law enforcement from receiving any equipment that provides ballistic protection.  The picture from San Bernardino showing the armored vehicle and the terrorist’s SUV is a graphic illustration of the value of this equipment.  There are endless other examples, such the Orlando officer’s Kevlar helmet that stopped a bullet, using their armored vehicle to penetrate the building’s exterior wall ending the standoff, or ‘grenade launchers’ to dispense smoke or less lethal munitions (we have no grenades) to save human life during riots.  In Baton Rouge the killer could be approached and stopped only by an officer operating from inside an armored vehicle.  We are subject to the rule of law and held accountable for our actions both civilly and criminally as we should be.  Simply stated this equipment saves lives of both law enforcement and civilians.  We just ask that these resources paid for by the American tax payers be made available to us again.”   

“The senseless attacks on our law enforcement coupled with the threat of terrorism here at home underscores the need for our police to have the support and tools they need to keep us safe,” said Senator Richard Shelby.  “The rule of law and the security of our citizens should be a top priority, yet the Obama Administration’s misguided restrictions on the Section 1033 program only make it more difficult for those who wear blue.   While it is a step in the right direction that our law enforcement is finally getting attention from the White House on their needs, I am concerned that their pleas could fall on deaf ears.  I plan to continue to follow the progress of the talks between the Administration and our police, and will fight tirelessly to ensure that the Administration’s misguided policy is reversed.”