Charlie Riedel, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Aug, 16, 2014 file photo, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson walks among people protesting the police shooting death of Michael Brown a week ago in Ferguson, Mo. The Ferguson City Council, set to meet Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for the first time since the fatal shooting of Brown, said it plans to establish a review board to help guide the police department and make other changes aimed at improving community relations.

WASHINGTON — Congress says it's considering doing more to monitor and hold accountable police departments across the United States that obtain sophisticated military equipment from the federal government.

Senior officials from the Homeland Security, Justice and Defense departments testified Tuesday at a Senate oversight hearing. It 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.

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware, said the government gives military equipment to police for good reasons. But the senator said Congress is considering whether the types of equipment police are getting is "truly needed" to uphold local laws.

The White House had previously announced its own review of the police equipment program.