Statement on the Trump Administration's Plan to Lift the Ban on Military Weapons Use By Law Enforcement

August 29 2017

Today, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, president and co-founder of Center for Policing Equity, released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump's new Executive Order to lift the ban on the use of military weapons by law enforcement:

"President Trump's new Executive Order sends the wrong message to communities across America. Thoughtful engagement and mutual respect are the core elements in creating and nurturing trust between communities and law enforcement. History has shown us this, and 2014's unfortunate events in Ferguson underscored this truth: public trust cannot exist where the public feels besieged by an army.

Police officers must have the right tools and resources to keep communities safe, but these resources shouldn't be supplied at the expense of critical partnerships. When they are, these actions can alienate members of law enforcement and communities, possibly reversing social progress we've worked so hard to achieve. While evidence is mixed on how the use of military equipment influences police behavior, we do know that trust is not built through force. Public safety works best when it is built on a foundation of trust. As a nation, we should work to strengthen that trust - not weaken or destroy it."