Small Town Police Amass 'Battlefield-Grade Arsenals' in New Federal Program

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Common Dreams

Small Town Police Amass 'Battlefield-Grade Arsenals' in New Federal Program

by
Common Dreams staff

An Honeywell T-Hawk UAV, also known as the beer-keg drone. The Miami-Dade Police Department became the first major metropolitan area police to acquire this drone in January 2011. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Police departments across the US have begun to amass 'battlefield-grade arsenals' thanks to a new federal program which provides excess military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies, the Danger Room reported Tuesday.

The program titled the “Department of Defense Excess Property Program" facilitates the selling of military surplus equipment, such as amphibious tanks, at "virtually no cost except for shipment and maintenance" to small town departments.

As of May 15th, the program had distributed almost $400 million worth of military arsenal to small town police departments within 2012 alone. In 2011, more than 700,000 items were transferred to police departments for a total value of $500 million.

“There’s been an unmistakable trend toward more and more militarization of American law enforcement...There’s no justification for them having that kind of equipment, for one obvious reason, and that is if they have it, they will find a way to use it. And if they use it they will misuse it altogether too many times,” stated Norm Stamper, former Chief of the Seattle Police Department.

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The Danger Room: Small-Town Cops Pile Up on Useless Military Gear

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A Puma armored rescue vehicle acquired by the Oxford Police Department, Alabama. Photo Courtesy of Chief of Police Bill Partridge

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