More Defense surplus equipment heading to local police departments; ACLU concerned
More Defense surplus equipment heading to local police departments; ACLU concerned - The Washington Post
For police and sheriff’s departments, which have scooped up 165 of the mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs, since they became available this summer, the price and the ability to deliver shock and awe while serving warrants or dealing with hostage standoffs were just too good to pass up.“It’s armored. It’s heavy. It’s intimidating. And it’s free,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, among five county sheriff’s departments and three other police agencies in New York that have taken delivery of an MRAP.But the trucks have limits. They are too big to travel on some bridges and roads and have a tendency to be tippy on uneven ground. And then there’s the cost of retrofitting them for civilian use and fueling the 36,000-pound behemoths that get about five miles to the gallon.The American Civil Liberties Union criticizes what it sees as the increasing militarization of the nation’s police. ACLU affiliates have been collecting 2012 records to determine the extent of military hardware and tactics acquired by police and plan to issue a report early next year. “One of our concerns with this is it has a tendency to escalate violence,” said ACLU Center for Justice senior counsel Kara Dansky.