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The Military Government

Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the bazookas-for-all dept.
v3rgEz writes: Wondering how the St. Louis County Police ended up armed with surplus military gear, and what equipment other departments have? A FOIA request at MuckRock has turned up every item given to local law enforcement under the Pentagon's 1022 program, the mechanism by which local law enforcement can apply for surplus or used military gear.
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Two Years of Data On What Military Equipment the Pentagon Gave To Local Police

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  • Re:Too much surplus (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:34PM (#47687189) Homepage Journal

    Have you never bought something that it turned out that you didn't need? Amplify that to the scale the DoD operates on and you get some serious amounts of 'surplus'.

    Add in that the military has to operate on the principal of being prepared, and thus have stocks in case of danger, it makes sense for durable goods to still be useful when declared surplus.

    For example, rather than having eight types of truck around, cut it down to 2 and surplus the rest. Individual departments with ONE armored vehicle can worry about the parts it needs, and if it breaks down it's not normally that big of a deal. Meanwhile the Army has to worry about hundreds of them, and if they break down too often due to age it's just not worth it.

  • Checked my own state (Score:5, Informative)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday August 16, 2014 @11:54PM (#47687265)

    For Virginia, I skimmed through and found:
    * Basically every county, city and even college police were involved. Specifically which department got each thing isn't listed.
    * 2 "laser range-finder/target designators". They listed laser range-finders with a different name, so these are definitely ones that could illuminate a target for bombing. Scary.
    * 4 explosive ordnance disposal robots
    * 1 mine-resistant vehicle
    * 23 5.56mm rifles, 14 7.62mm rifles, 4 .45 pistols and 3 12ga "riot-type" shotguns. I did not notice any other arms, specifically .50 rifles. Interestingly, there were no multiple transfers of weapons - either only one gun was given to each department, or they're logging individual serial numbers, or they're lying their ass off.
    * On a lighter note, a single electronic calculator, a bicycle, two golf carts and a "mule" were also listed. Whether that mule was an M274 truck or an actual mule is unspecified - the M274 was obsoleted in the '80s while mules continue to be used in Afghanistan, so an actual mule isn't that implausible.

  • Re:Real Problem (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @12:36AM (#47687435)

    Police departments across the USA are typically under staffed

    There is little evidence that America is under-policed. Most studies have found a weak correlation between numbers of cops, and property crimes, and NO correlation with violent crimes. A meta-study [academia.edu] found that a 10 per cent increase in officers will lead to a reduction in crime of around 3 per cent. There are far more cost effective ways to reduce crime, such as better prenatal and early childhood nutrition, better vocational training for teenagers, etc.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @12:42AM (#47687459) Journal

    equipping all of their officers with riot shields/assault rifles, body armor, & armored vehicles they've ceased to be "peace officers".

    Indeed, one of the first acts in the Irish/UK peace process in N Ireland was a military order for all UK soldiers to remove their helmets while on street patrol as a gesture of trust. The simple act of removing a helmet requires a hell of a lot more courage than shooting into a crowd with rubber bullets from atop of armored vehicles. Sure, the macho swat stuff must remain an option for serious incidents, but calling in a swat team with riot gear and snipers for a routine suburban drug bust is the hallmark of a coward.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @02:11AM (#47687615) Homepage Journal

    MULE also stands for Modular Universal Laser Equipment, which is a tripod mounted laser designator. It's essentially the USMC equivalent of the Army's G/VLLD.

    http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/marinefacts/blmule.htm [about.com]

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @03:34AM (#47687761) Homepage

    The police don't want war. In fact, they typically go after the low hanging fruit in offenders. You could be downloading an illegal copy of a movie from Starbucks and be busted while simultaneously a drug addict and a pimp are engaged in some sort of dispute across the street. Yeah, fuck that. Too much trouble. But hey, easy quota right?

  • Re:No (Score:4, Informative)

    by Shawndeisi (839070) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:50AM (#47688327)

    Launching rubber bullets and tear gas, which share the 40mm platform.

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