President to Review Militarization of Police - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

President to Review Militarization of Police

WICOMICO COUNTY - Following the criticism of the heavily armed police clashing with protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, President Obama wants to review the federal programs that provide local law enforcement with military equipment.  In the past several months, a handful of local law enforcement departments on Delmarva have received such equipment, including the Crisfield and Delmar police departments and the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office.

The newest addition to the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office is the M-Rap.  It is an armored truck Sheriff Mike Lewis was able to obtain at no cost through a federal program.  The sheriff said the truck would only be used in extreme emergency situations, like a mass shooting on Delmarva.

"I made it clear to all the other chiefs and sheriffs in a meeting here in Wicomico County that I would make this vehicle available to each and every one of them in the event they needed it," said Sheriff Lewis.

But the unrest amongst police and protestors in Ferguson, Mo. has prompted President Obama to call for a review of these federal programs to ensure local law enforcement is really getting what they need to have.

"Because there is a big difference between our military and our law enforcement and we don't want those lines blurred.  That would be contrary to our traditions," President Obama recently told media members at the White House.

And the president's stance is echoed by Kerry Flagg of Salisbury.
"People are already afraid of some of our local police and to see these vehicles riding through on the streets, it going to make it even worse," said Flagg.

But Sheriff Lewis stands by the program and his decision to bring the M-Rap to Wicomico County.

"I certainly think it is a knee jerk reaction to everything that's going on now, particularly with everything that's happening in Ferguson.  I firmly believe there is a need for these pieces of equipment across the country and we are very fortunate to have one."

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