MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont State Police will not be pursuing armored vehicles or other heavy-duty equipment after President Donald Trump signed an executive to restore the flow of surplus military gear to local police departments, Republican Gov. Phil Scott said.
The Obama administration severely curtailed the program two years ago amid a public outcry over how military-style equipment was used during protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The Times Argus reports that Scott said Thursday that state police will not be seeking the type of equipment Trump’s order will allow police to use.
“I don’t think there’s a need for some of the armored vehicles or some of the high-velocity weapons that they might have,” Scott said.
He also said he hoped local police would not seek armored vehicles or high-powered weapons.
“I would discourage them. I think that sends the wrong message,” Scott said.
But he said state may consider getting other surplus military gear that it’s received in the past. “If there’s something we use on a day-to-day basis that we can get a good deal on, that would be one thing,” Scott said. “But we’re not looking to militarize Vermont in any way.”
Following the hurricane in Houston, the state also may be interested in vehicles that can operate in high water, he said. “It would be only for emergency management services, not for any military operations,” he told the newspaper.