U.S. Senator Richard Shelby Tuesday called on President Barack Obama to reverse an executive order he claims is “misguided and dangerous” and has resulted in two unarmed, tracked armored vehicles being taken from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office last week.
For over 20 years, under the federal government’s 10-33 program, the Department of Defense has distributed surplus military equipment and vehicles to local law enforcement across the county, including the Calhoun County sheriff’s department.
Last Wednesday, the federal government forced Calhoun County sheriff Larry Amerson to return two 10-33 vehicles. According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, the vehicles were first obtained from the federal government after a mentally ill person shot three Anniston police officers in 2001 and other officers had no protection to remove the injured from the area.
“Time and time again, President Obama abuses the authority of his office by making unilateral decisions through executive fiat,” explained Shelby. “From his attempts to grant executive amnesty to illegal immigrants and his plans to allow Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States, to his decision to take away vehicles from local law enforcement in Calhoun County, it is clear that this president is more interested in scoring political points than ensuring the safety of our citizens.”
“We live in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world, and we cannot allow President Obama to prioritize protecting those trying to do us harm over those trying to protect us. I will continue to fight against this flawed, irresponsible executive action that expands Washington’s influence in our communities and weakens local law enforcement’s ability to protect us.”
Obama made the change to the long-standing policy and issued the executive order following civil unrest in Ferguson, MO after the shooting of teenager Michael Brown when local police deployed a number of military-style vehicles to defend against civilian protesters on the city streets.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people the feeling like there’s an occupying force,” President Obama explained. “As opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them.”
Obama believe that type of equipment “can alienate and intimidate residents and make them feel scared.”