What Trump’s Military Surplus Reversal Means for Michigan Police Departments

WDET’s Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth say the issue is ’emblematic’ of a larger conundrum for police

Jake Neher/WDET

Police departments can once again receive certain surplus equipment from the military.

The Trump administration this week reversed a ban on the practice put in place under President Obama.

WDET’s Jake Neher and Michigan Public Radio’s Cheyna Roth talk about what that means for police departments here in Michigan, and why the ban came about in the first place.

Roth says Michigan police officials tell her they tend to use the practice to obtain things such as cold weather clothing and other protective equipment.

“They’re excited about this ban being lifted because now they can have those things without having to take money out of their — let’s face it — not always very generous budgets,” she says.

Click here to see Bridge Magazine’s database of equipment local police departments had obtained from military surplus as of 2015

Neher notes that the issue comes down “in the middle of a huge national conversation about this crossroads that the entire criminal justice system is facing right now,” regarding tough-on-crime attitudes toward criminal justice versus community policing and rehabilitation.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.
  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.