The sheriff of Hancock County is requesting to purchase some riot gear for the department.
Sheriff Scott Kane says in a message posted on Facebook Friday, that he simply wants the gear for deputies in the event of having to respond to violent situations.
Kane says he is asking for helmets, gloves, shields and batons so that deputies can safely protect the public.
He also says he believes in citizens' right to peaceful protest and more training for police, and believes the term "riot gear" has taken on a pejorative meaning that doesn't portray his true intentions.
Kane wrote the message in response to criticism from some who are questioning why deputies need this kind of gear and why they are requesting it now, as people assemble for protests against systemic racism.
Leslie Ross, Hancock County case coordinator for the Restorative Justice Project, writes in an email that at a time when Black Lives Matter protests are sharpening the focus on violent crowd control methods used by police, the acquisition of such gear is: "not an acceptable direction" for Hancock County to take.