68% of Americans think local police forces shouldn’t have military style weapons and vehicles.

The silver lining of the tragedy in Ferguson is it might actually push the country to adopt some real reforms. One area which is ripe for change is demilitarizing the police.

The idea has recently gotten very public support from a diverse set of politicians ranging from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to President Obama. It also has strong support among the public, according to a new NYT/CBS poll.

The poll found 68 percent of Americans think local police forces shouldn’t have military style weapons and vehicles and instead believe this equipment should be reserved only for the military or national guard. Only 26 percent of the public thinks local police should have this heavy hardware. Demilitarizing the police has strong support among whites (65 percent) and Blacks (80 percent).

Unfortunately, Congress is scheduled to be back in session only briefly during September and will spend most of the next two months campaigning so there it little time for them to get anything done in the near future. It would be really disappointing if the momentum for addressing this issue was lost as a result of it happening at an inconvenient time in the election cycle when we have a deeply dysfunctional Congress.

Photo by Tom Hagerty under Creative Commons license