From Walking A Beat To Driving A Tank
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 23: FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 23 Police watch as demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown along West Florissant Avenue on August 23, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. The protest, which started out last week with large and sometime violent crowds, are now smaller and mostly peaceful. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) Photo: Image by Getty Images
Back in the early 1990's, Congress passed a law which allowed local police departments to acquire surplus military equipment. Local departments get the equipment for free but must pay maintenance and transportation costs. Last year, half a billion dollars' worth of equipment was transferred.
The rationale behind the program is that it makes more sense to give surplus equipment to local police departments that can use it then it does to scrap it.
Most of the equipment that is transferred is non-military: generators, office equipment, blankets, sleeping bags, binoculars, flashlights, computers, first aid supplies, TVs and the like. About 5% of the equipment transferred is weapons like M-16s and less than 1% consists of tactical vehicles.
In response to complaints about police tactics in Ferguson, Mo, the President has ordered a review of the programs that allow police departments to obtain surplus military equipment. The President and the Attorney General are apparently both concerned over the use of military equipment in Ferguson.
During the 1 p.m. hour of Tuesday's radio program, we'll discuss whether local police departments should be allowed to continue to have access to surplus military equipment?
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section - and be sure to check back later to hear a replay of the segment.