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Here's some good news for the nearly half of Americans uneasy about the militarization of police.

Under President Obama's new policy, police forces will need certification before accessing certain types of military-style equipment.

Here's some good news for the nearly half of Americans uneasy about the militarization of police.

If it seems like local police forces have become increasingly militarized, it's because they have.

One of the most alarming aspects of the police response to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, was just how much heavy-duty military gear was involved and how out of place that looked against the backdrop of an American city.


This Humvee was posted outside of a Target in Jennings, Missouri, in November 2014. Photo by Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images.

On May 18, 2015, President Obama addressed this in both speech and policy, vowing to limit the amount of military-style equipment the federal government gives to state and local police.

Speaking in Camden, New Jersey, Obama addressed how when people see the police around them decked out in military-style gear, it's easy to feel as though they're simply an occupying force.


Earlier that day, the president rolled out a list of military equipment that will no longer be available to local law enforcement, including tracked armored vehicles (tanks, basically), weaponized vehicles, large ammunition and firearms (.50-caliber or higher), grenade launchers (why were these needed in the first place?), bayonets, and some forms of camouflage uniforms.

Some militarized equipment will still be available, however, so long as departments go through proper training and certification to get it. That includes planes, helicopters, drones, armored and tactical vehicles with wheels (like the Humvee shown above), explosives, and riot gear.


On Aug. 13, 2014, St. Louis County Police line up for a possible confrontation with Ferguson protesters. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

The public is split on the topic of state and local police using equipment designed for the military.

In an August 2014 USA Today/Pew Research poll, people were asked to weigh in on whether they felt confident that local police could be trusted to use military equipment appropriately. 45% of those polled stated that they either had "not too much" confidence in police or "none at all."

Data by USA Today/Pew Research.

This initiative alone won't resolve the tension between police and the public, but it will certainly have some positive effects.

In his speech in Camden, the president also announced the launch of the White House Police Data Initiative, which will help bring transparency to police work.

The initiative will make certain data available and more accessible to the public and will also help police departments internally identify officers with troublesome behavior patterns earlier:

"While many police departments have systems in place, often called “early warning systems," to identify officers who may be having challenges in their interactions with the public and link them with training and other assistance, there has been little to no research to determine which indicators are most closely linked to bad outcomes. To tackle this issue, twelve police departments committed to sharing data on police/citizen encounters with data scientists for in-depth data analysis, strengthening the ability of police to intervene early and effectively." — Launching the Police Data Initiative

In Oakland, where police have been wearing body cameras for the past four years, a team of data scientists from Stanford University is going to "comb through the audio to surface police/citizen encounters that either went particularly poorly or went particularly well." From this data, the Oakland Police Department will be able to "quickly identify problems and also to lift up real world examples of the great police work that happens every day."

It might be a few years before we start to see the effects of this data collection, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

You can watch Obama's full speech in Camden here:

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

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