President Barack Obama has officially ordered a review of federal programs that dole out surplus military equipment to local police forces. The news comes two weeks after racial unrest sparked in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the death of a local African-American teen, Michael Brown. Brown, who was unarmed, was fatally shot six times by a police officer. Obama suggested this past Monday that it would be "probably useful" to review the programs.
In the following days, onlookers across the country and the world were struck at the sight of heavily-armed police officers facing off against swarms of protestors. To many, the police forces resembled a military group, and as the situation escalated so did cries for a rethink of programs that have sent thousands of armored vehicles and high-powered weapons to small police departments across the country.
According to Reuters, Obama intends for the federal review to determine if the programs "are appropriate and whether state and local law enforcement are given proper training." The programs in question rose to prominence in the wake of the September 11th attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though the federal government has provided excess military gear to police forces in some extent for decades.