Police Use of Military Surplus May Need Approval of Local Government

Local police departments seeking surplus military equipment from the Pentagon would have to get approval from their local governments under a bill moving through the state Legislature.

A state Senate panel approved the legislation Thursday. It also approved a related bill that would have the state attorney general oversee the program.

The measures stem from the demonstrations after the August fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, when police there used former military equipment during patrols.

Lawmakers say New Jersey received $50 million worth of military equipment through the Defense Department program. Local governments currently don't have to approve acquisitions through that program.

State Sen. Nia Gill says the bill gives the public a voice in deciding whether police departments should have weapons like M14s or M16s.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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