Small-Town Cops Scoring Millions in Military Gear
Tiny police departments taking boats, bayonets, deep-fryers...
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2013 9:32 AM CDT
Morven Police Chief Lynwood Yates walks past a military surplus truck.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

(Newser) – The 1033 Program allows law enforcement agencies to get hold of equipment the military is no longer using—for free. Last year, $546 million in property was transferred. Makes sense, right? If the army has gear just lying around, the cops may as well make use of it. But an investigation by the AP finds most of the departments that are taking the equipment are rural outfits with little crime and few officers, and the stuff they're taking is just ludicrous. Some highlights:

  • The deepest body of water in the small farming town of Morven, Ga., is a shallow creek, but the police chief has there has nabbed three boats, scuba gear, rescue rafts, and dozens of life preservers.
  • Morven, population 700, has also taken a $200,000 decontamination machine (in need of $100,000 of repairs), a shipment of bayonets, 10 combat tents, exercise equipment, and 20 pairs of red gym shorts. In all, Morven, which has three full-time officers, has obtained $4 million of stuff over the past decade.

  • Rising Star, Texas, population 835 and with only one full-time law enforcement official, has taken $3.2 million worth of gear, including nine televisions, 11 computers, three deep-fat fryers, two meat slicers, 22 large space heaters, a pool table, 25 sleeping bags, and playground equipment.
  • Oxford, Ala., snagged a $1.5 million infrared surveillance device for a helicopter it doesn't have (the police chief said it asked for night-vision goggles and got sent that instead).
Click to read the full investigation at the AP.

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Aug 1, 2013 3:40 PM CDT
I have heard that things like this were possible to happen only in the communist countries. What in the world are we?
Aug 1, 2013 3:18 PM CDT
That's the government of the people. They waste millions of tax dollars, then want to take social security from the people that have paid into it all their lives to support our stupid congress who gets paid highly and gets all the perks and do nothing for the middle class. All of that stuff should be auctioned off to the highest bidder, because everyone knows it will just end up in someone hands that shouldn't have it.
Aug 1, 2013 2:58 PM CDT
Sounds a little piggish to me. Reminds me of the "all you can eat" buffets. Several trips to the buffet later and diners exit, leaving full plates of food untouched. Same thing.