By Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Salt Lake City Council said it is considering an ordinance that would limit its police department’s access to decommissioned military equipment.

A provision in the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act makes it easy for police departments nationwide to ask for surplus military equipment from the federal government, including office furniture, vehicles and weapons, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The provision allows for the Secretary of Defense to send decommissioned items to domestic law enforcement agencies on request, usually for free.

The city’s lawmakers are now considering a draft ordinance presented Tuesday that would ban the police from using city funds to acquire drones, combat aircraft, grenades, grenade launchers, military-grade weapons, silencers and armored vehicles using the 1997 provision.

For other non-listed items or for donations, police officials would be required to send the mayor and city council a written explanation as to why the items are needed. The request would then be put up for public response, after which the city council can recommend whether the department should have the equipment or not.

Under the proposed ordinance, the police department would also be required to submit an annual report that lists all of the military surplus items in its possession.

Detective Michael Ruff with the Salt Lake City Police Department said they do not hold a position for or against the ordinance.

“We work within parameters given to us by the mayor and council,” Ruff said.

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