Durbin: Pentagon should review police gear program

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's No. 2 Democrat is asking Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to review a program that provides high-powered rifles and other surplus military equipment to civilian police departments across the country.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says the adoption of military-style tactics by local police departments and their use of military equipment have long been a concern. But, he says, the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer gives "new urgency" to a review of the Pentagon program.

Specifically, Durbin says he wants to ensure that the Defense Department consults with the Justice Department to determine whether police departments need the equipment and comply with federal standards for receiving grants. He also wants to increase program oversight and improve local police training.