Pentagon Gifts Local Cops with “Cast Off” Military Hardware
April 6, 2012
An article posted on The Modesto Bee website earlier this week provides a snapshot of the militarization of police, thanks to the Pentagon.
A “California Watch” article details how Stanislaus County police have received $4.2 million in surplus war equipment from the Department of Defense. In 2011 alone, according to the article, “Stanislaus County agencies collected more than 2,400 pieces, their highest total ever.”
Stanislaus County is not alone. “Public agencies around the state have grabbed cast-off military goods that become available on a weekly basis” and used to “arm and equip its officers.”
Modesto Police Chief Mike Harden told The Modesto Bee that much of the surplus military equipment is not “applicable to municipal use,” including an “inert rocket launcher” and other “nonoperational weaponry the Stanislaus County sheriff’s bomb squad displays to educate children about dangerous explosives,” according to Sheriff Adam Christianson.
Other, more useful equipment the police received from U.S. taxpayers include flashlights, bed sheets, a cargo parachute and an OH-58 helicopter. The department also acquired a “guided-missile trailer” that was repurposed to haul heavy equipment.