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Military grade equipment flows to local law enforcement for Battlefield USA

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March 8, 2013 in Guns

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The Defense Department established the 1033 program in the late 1990s to provide state and local law enforcement agencies with weapons, helicopters, armored vehicles, body armor, night vision equipment, surveillance equipment and protective gear. It also provides such things as surplus .45-caliber handguns and first-aid supplies.

U.S. Army prepares to invade U.S.

 

Several local law enforcement officials said if their agencies had to buy the stuff, they’d just do without most of it. But since it’s donated, they find a place for it.

There is no cost to local taxpayers since they’ve already paid for the equipment with their federal taxes.

According to the most recent inventory by the Georgia Department of Public Safety, $200 million in surplus military equipment and weapons is in the hands of 600 Georgia law enforcement agencies, large and small.

Some say it’s an example of the militarization of police departments

 

 

 

600 Georgia police agencies are participating in a program with the U.S. Department of Defense that allows them to acquire surplus military weapons and vehicles.  the program include.

Military-style rifles (M-14, M-16): 3,532

Grenade launchers: 8

Armored trucks/personnel carriers: 26

Unaccounted for weapons: 26

Total value of the weapons, vehicles: $200 million

(Image credit: The Brain Toad/Flickr)(Image credit: The Brain Toad/Flickr)

Georgia law  enforcement agencies have acquired a massive arsenal of military-grade vehicles and weapons through  the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, it’s far from isolated.

Many law enforcement agencies acquire military equipment through the Pentagon’s 1033 program. Police have also acquired military robots through the DoD but they have other  ways to get their hands on armored surveillance vehicles and armored personnel carriers as well.

Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security gave the city of Keene, New  Hampshire, with a population of less than 25,000, $285,933 to buy an armored  counter-attack vehicle called a BearCat, according to Radley Balko.

Keene has had a whopping three murders since 1999 according to City Data and according to the American Civil Liberties  Union (ACLU), the city lied about the need for the tank-like vehicle built by Lenco Industries, Inc.

The ACLU points out that a Keene City Councilmember actually admitted that  the city lied about their need for the BearCat to DHS.

“Our application talked about the danger of domestic terrorism, but that’s  just something you put in the grant application to get  the money,” the councilmember said, according to the ACLU. “What  red-blooded American cop isn’t going to be excited about getting a toy like  this? That’s what it comes down to.”

Another example of this type of completely unnecessary equipment being  acquired by a law enforcement agency can be seen in Richland County, South  Carolina.

With a violent crime rate down 3.7% and property crime down 3.9% compared to last year, Richland doesn’t seem to have a  massive crime problem. Furthermore, many of the crimes there are related to drug  use or gambling, according to the ACLU.

Yet Richland’s Sheriff’s Department for some reason has an armored personnel  carrier they call “The Peacemaker.”

As was reported by Reason in 2008, the armored personnel carrier has a belt-fed  .50-caliber turreted machine gun which even the US military is reluctant to use  on humans.

(Image credit: mpeake/Flickr)(Image credit: mpeake/Flickr)

How exactly a weapon usually reserved for use against armored vehicles will  “save lives” is anyone’s guess.

These, like the examples in Georgia are far from isolated.

“Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have sweeping access to military equipment and to billions of  dollars in federal grant money to  purchase heavy weaponry designed for overseas combat missions, as well as access  to anti-terrorism tactical training,” the ACLU reports.

The ACLU recently launched a new project on the militarization of policing in America in response to  this growing trend.

While some may claim this type of equipment is necessary to assure the safety  of officers when facing massive shootouts or similar encounters, in reality, the  use is much more mundane in most cases.

“And in Maryland, the transparency law has shown that police departments in  the state are using SWAT tactics in precisely the ways critics have claimed: to  break into homes to serve warrants on people suspected of low-level drug  crimes,” according to a March 6 article by Radley Balko. “Many times, they’re not  even finding enough contraband to make an arrest. Yet there haven’t been any  calls in the state to reform the way SWAT teams are used.”

The disturbing results of the militarization of police are many. In 2010 a nine-year-old girl was shot in the neck and killed by a  SWAT team.

(Image credit: verifex/Flickr)(Image credit: verifex/Flickr)

Shortly before she was killed, the SWAT team threw a flashbang grenade through the window of her home in Detroit,  Michigan, immediately setting her blanket on fire.

In another incident, Iraq war veteran Jose Guerena was shot 60 times by a  SWAT team when serving a search warrant as part of a multi-house drug  crackdown.

Guerena he picked up his own gun (but didn’t fire it) in an attempt to defend  his family after his wife saw a shadowy figure in their front yard holding a  gun. Police later defended their actions after retracting their claim  that Guerena shot first and declining to say if they found any drugs in his  house.

According to the ACLU, their affiliates in 23 states filed over 255 public records requests on March 6 with law enforcement  agencies and National Guard offices to “determine the extent to which federal  funding and support has fueled the  militarization of state and local police departments.”

More on the ACLU’s new project can be seen here.

source:military-equipment-flowing-to-local-law-enforcement   / georgia-police-acquired-200-million-worth-of-military-grade-vehicles-and-weapons


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2 responses to Military grade equipment flows to local law enforcement for Battlefield USA

  1. Roger that. Great post.

  2. Here is more proof that the fix is in. As government and wall street steal more and more of our money, we get an iron boot if we speak up. Sure the excuse not used yet will be the criminal gangs. Who allowed these gangs to grow to over 1.5 million? And in the gun debate, gangs are never mentioned. That will come later as a further justification to have foreign troops, and military police on our streets all the while wall street bankers and top government people live in sheer Luxury.

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