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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:

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

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