LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd applauded a move by the Trump administration to begin redistributing surplus military gear to local police and deputies.
The ban had been in place since President Obama ended the policy in response to clashes in Ferguson, MO between heavily-armed police and protestors following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
Law enforcement agencies, which for years had been using military gear on loan from the Department of Defense, were forced to return the items, including weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles, and helicopters.
"They took that equipment away from us quick," Judd told FOX 13.
President Trump's reversal of that policy Monday was met with a positive reaction from sheriffs across the country.
"At the end of the day, that equipment was used to two things: to protect law enforcement officers and protect the community," Judd said. "It was all about politics. Barak Obama saw some of this equipment used in a couple of the riot situations and they thought it was inappropriate."
The NAACP, however, saw Obama's policy as a way to ease tensions between minority communities and police.
"I think President Obama helped to reassure the country that we are still a nation of democracy and we have a right to protest when there are abuses," said Albert Fields, Vice President of the organization's Hillsborough branch.
Fields worries local law enforcement agencies are becoming too militarized, which will inflame tensions once again.
"It was a big concern for me and it should be a big concern for the general population. Those type of weapons don't really solve anything, they escalate it. Go look at the Ferguson incident," he said.
Judd said he's going to ask for the same items that he had to return, which included an armored vehicle whose bullet-proof glass saved a deputy's life during a SWAT standoff.