WASHINGTON — Lawmakers said Tuesday they were considering doing more to monitor and hold accountable police departments across the United States that obtain sophisticated military equipment from the federal government.
The new scrutiny on Capitol Hill was prompted by weeks of violent conflicts between police in Ferguson, Missouri, and protesters upset about the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old. Most military equipment, including some rifles and armored vehicles, is provided to local police under a program administered by the Homeland Security Department.
"These programs were established with a very good intention: to provide equipment that would help law enforcement perform their duties," said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "The question is whether what our police receive matches what they truly need to uphold the law."
The White House had previously announced its own review of the police equipment program.