Ada sheriff not keen on Labrador bill

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney does not like U.S. Congressman Raul Labrador's bill to stop local law enforcement from receiving military surplus equipment, such as armored vehicles.

"I think this bill is bred out of ignorance," Raney told KBOI News. "I wish that the congressman would have talked to his constituency, and asked us here in local law enforcement: how do you use that?"

Raney's office is one of many law enforcement agencies nationwide to receive an armored vehicle from the military, which he says offers protection to deputies in hazardous stand-off situations, for example.

"This is something that helps keep our deputies, our officers, and our troopers safe," he said. "the military equipment many times can save taxpayers money. It's not something to be afraid of."

But Rep. Labrador worries the surplus equipment program blurs the line between military and civilian police forces.

And the Idaho Republican's bi-partisan proposal follows images of police with armored vehicles confronting civilians during the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri.

Sheriff Raney concedes there has been a case when law enforcement crosses the line with this military equipment, but he says don't hold local law enforcement responsible for that.

"Those vehicles, those tools were used improperly," the sheriff said. "That didn't happen in Ada County. This is a thousand miles away. This is Ada County where we use those tools to keep people safe."

When asked about the sheriff's comment, Rep. Labrador's office released this statement:

"Last year, Congressman Labrador became concerned about the transfer of surplus military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. Recent events have spotlighted the potential for misuse of this military equipment in a civilian setting. He introduced H.R. 5748 to enrich the national conversation on this issue. He looks forward to discussing this bill with Idaho law enforcement."

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