President orders military surplus items to be seized from police - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

President orders military surplus items to be seized from police departments

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Under orders from President Barack Obama, the federal government is seizing some military surplus equipment from police departments across the country.

With the rise of terror attacks and crime on the streets, local law enforcement agencies say now is not the time to take back the equipment.

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said, "At a time when police are facing war zones on the streets with criminals and terrorists using semi automatic weapons to murder unarmed men, women, and children, or detonating bombs like in the attack at the Boston Marathon, law enforcement should be given every tool in the arsenal to help keep communities safe. In many ways, I feel like law enforcement is being thrown under the bus as you know we are living in a different world with the things happening with ISIS and all of that, first responders do need to be prepared."

Yet President Obama is seizing some legally obtained military surplus equipment through an executive order he signed.  He ordered military surplus equipment and all vehicles that are too militarized looking to be seized. His explanation was that militarized equipment can make one feel like police are an occupying force.

The President believes the equipment can intimidate residents and make them feel scared. 

Obama did this after the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore.

Items to be confiscated from law enforcement all over the country include armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, 50-caliber firearms and ammunition, bayonets, camouflage uniforms and grenade launchers.

Greene tells 21 News, the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department received a few pickup trucks, vans to transport prisoners, M-16s and different types of equipment from the government's surplus program. The Bear, an armored vehicle that this region bought, will not be affected.

Greene also said, "It's a constant fight we are dealing with the mental illness in our prisons and in our jails right now. We are dealing with the heroin epidemic."

The Columbiana County Sheriff's Department purchased a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle known as the MRAP. The 24 ton armored truck can be used to help officers with an active shooter or standoff situation.

Trumbull County Sheriff Tom Altiere says his department has received military surplus items; however none have to be returned. 

"Seizing the equipment from police departments is a bad idea with terrorism, school shootings, and war on streets," said Altiere.

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