Since 1993, police agencies have purchased more than 600,000 military equipment items at the cost of $1.8 billion, according to a recent report by Forbes and based on a Defense Logistics Agency database of disclosed federal military gear transferred to states under the Pentagon authorization known as Program 1033. California law enforcement organizations outspent all other states at more than $153 million. Texas follows closely behind at $144 million, then Tennessee, Florida, Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina.
Of course, big-ticket items such as helicopters ($83.6 million value) and planes ($104.8 million value) add up quickly — California Highway Patrol reportedly purchased a fixed-wing aircraft for $22 million in 2016. However, departments also acquired more than 66,370 rifles, approximately 7,340 pistols and 1,218 riot shotguns. Millions were spent on military robots, including remote-controlled and underwater vehicles and explosive ordinance disposal mechanisms. Other equipment included night-vision sights, goggles, binoculars, sniper scopes and telescopes.
Some transactions, however, have raised eyebrows. For example, the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District police in Texas received 60 bayonet-knives, and Wyoming’s Campbell County Sheriff’s Office bought two mine-resistant vehicles and an armored truck.
Has your department also purchased gear? Let us know more at articles@ apbweb.com.
As seen in the November 2020 issue of American Police Beat magazine.
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