MILITARY SURPLUS: Skylifts such as this one acquired by Little Rock police are among the military surplus made available to local police. This particular equipment was never on the prohibited list.

A follow-up on Donald Trump’s decision to overturn the Obama administration limitation on providing military surplus to local police agencies, a decision criticized by some as the unnecessary militarization of police.

Both Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Gov. Asa Hutchinson cheered the decision. Hutchinson said on Twitter that sheriffs “depend on this equipment for daily operations, civil unrest, drug eradication operations and most importantly, search and rescue.”


Overlooked in some of the initial coverage, including here, was the limitation on the surplus. It did not include, as some articles indicated, protective helmets and vests for officers. This is what was ruled off-limits:

Tracked Armored Vehicles; Weaponized Aircraft, Vessels and Vehicles; Firearms and Ammunition of .50 Caliber or higher; Grenade Launchers; Bayonets; and Camouflage Uniforms.

Serious question: Daily use? Grenade launchers? 50-caliber guns? Bayonets? Tracked armored vehicles? Weaponized aircraft? Even where boats might have been available, I’d doubt daily use. Anybody have a rundown on use of such equipment in Arkansas, particularly for civil unrest?