U.S. Dumps Excess Equipment on Police Departments that Don’t Need It

Thursday, June 28, 2012
Oxford, Mississippi, Police Department
Law enforcement agencies in post-September 11, 2001, America have stockpiled billions of dollars in military equipment, some of which seems unnecessary for local police forces.
Police departments have managed to collect vast quantities of military hardware through the Department of Defense’s Excess Property Program that practically gives away surplus materials to law enforcement. All the local agencies have to do is ask for it and pay for shipping and maintenance.
In many instances, tiny police departments now own such items advanced items as amphibious tanks and night-vision goggles.
The 50-officer police department in Oxford, Alabama (population 20,000), has collected $3 million in equipment, including M-16s and an armored vehicle. In Tupelo, Mississippi (population 35,000), police acquired a helicopter for only $7,500—that now costs them $20,000 a year in maintenance.
The Fairmount Police Department in northern Georgia received 17,145 items from the military to help protect a town with only 7,000 residents.
At least one law enforcement agency got caught abusing the Pentagon’s giveaway program. The Pinal County Sheriff's Office in Arizona collected $7 million in Humvees, fire trucks, guns, computers and more, and then turned around and sold some of it to help make up for budget cuts.
Reselling the Defense Department’s surplus is forbidden under the program.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
Small-Town Cops Pile Up on Useless Military Gear (by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Wired)
Local Police Stockpile High-Tech, Combat-Ready Gear (by Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, Center for Investigative Reporting)
The Militarization of Your Local Police (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


Leave a comment