NASHVILLE, TN (WMC) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a major policy announcement Monday morning at a national law enforcement convention in Nashville.
Sessions announced the Trump administration will rescind an Obama-era order that made it tougher for local police departments to get their hands on military gear.
"I'd like to thank the Attorney General of our United States, Jeff Sessions, for finally putting our government back on the side of cops," Chris Cox of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action said.
Sessions took to the podium at the Fraternal Order of Police's national conference to a roar of praise Monday morning.
"I'm proud to stand with you. The Department of Justice is proud to stand with you. We have your back. We back the blue," Sessions told the thousands of law enforcement officers in the crowd.
Sessions made the action regarding military gear official, as was first reported by USA Today over the weekend.
Sessions said President Trump will be signing an executive order, rolling back a directive by the Obama administration that made it harder for local police to get surplus military equipment, such as armored vehicles, bayonets, and grenade launchers.
In 2014, President Barack Obama put the limits in place after the U.S. Justice Department determined at the time that police tactics in Ferguson, Missouri, inflamed tensions between law enforcement and protesters. The equipment was deemed divisive.
"These restrictions went too far. We will not put superficial concerns above public safety. We will do the best to get you what you need," Sessions said.
Sessions pointed to Houston, where armored vehicles and other similar equipment is being used to help in Tropical Storm Harvey rescue efforts.
The U.S. Justice Department said the changes will take effect immediately.
Critics have been swift to speak out. The NAACP legal defense fund released a series of comments on the decision.
One on Twitter read in part, "This action puts more firepower in the hands of police departments that remain largely untrained on matters of racial bias and endangers the public."