Police and Law Enforcement

With Trump, police hope to deploy military gear banned under Obama

Police groups helping to shape President Donald Trump's law-and-order agenda have their eyes on big prizes: military equipment banned by the previous administration and tougher laws on violence against officers.

In a contrast with the past eight years, the nation's biggest police unions say they now have the ear of the White House. If their advocacy is successful, it would represent a return to more aggressive policing tactics of the past.

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Police unions expect the Trump administration to rescind former President Barack Obama's 2015 executive order that banned local police from acquiring tank-like armored vehicles, grenade launchers and other equipment from the federal government. Last year, Mr. Trump said he would rescind the Obama order.

"We're going to remind him of that promise and ask him to deliver," said Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police union, with more than 333,000 members, according to its website.

The union's executive board met Tuesday morning at the White House with Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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An executive order issued by Mr. Trump last month called for stiffer penalties for harming officers, echoing recommendations made by police unions to the Trump transition team, according to William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, a coalition of unions and associations representing about 240,000 officers.

"To see that you're like, 'Wow,' they really listened to what we said and they're trying to put it in place," said Mr. Johnson. "For eight years we were beating our heads against the wall."

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