Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Maine cops got $12 million in military gear, weapons and armored vehicles: ---- by Nathan Strout The Maine Wire

Police departments across the State of Maine have taken advantage of this program, receiving approximately $12 million in military equipment, according to The New York Times, which placed the DoD data in an interactive database.

Maine police departments have obtained 463 assault rifles, 37 pistols, 32 shotguns, 8 armored vehicles, and 2 planes. In addition, police departments have received items such as first aid materials,document shredders, and body armor.

“The 1990s trend of government officials using paramilitary tactics and heavy-handed force to make political statements or to make an example of certain classes of nonviolent offenders would continue, especially in response to political protests,” said Balko in his book, Rise of The Warrior Cop. “The battle gear and aggressive policing would also start to move into more mundane crimes.”

Dr. Donald J. Campbell, a professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, said the militarization of the police is a little bit overblown, but that providing military equipment to local law enforcement agencies could nonetheless change police culture in a potentially worrisome way.

The data provided by Times only covers one such program. What it does not include are the many grants the Department of Homeland Security provides to local and state police departments to purchase military style equipment independently.

Despite national outrage over the situation in Ferguson and the backlash against the Department of Homeland Security, there does not appear to be any end in sight for the program. In June, the House of Representatives voted against an amendment by U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) to limit the Pentagon Excess Property Program by an overwhelming majority. Both of Maine’s 

Democratic Reps. Michael Michaud  and Chellie Pingree voted against Grayson’s amendment.

It is unclear as to when, how often, and to what purpose Maine police departments have used equipment obtained under the DHS program.

- See more at: http://www.themainewire.com/2014/08/maine-cops-12-million-military-gear-weapons-armored-vehicles-dod/#sthash.hogc697e.dpuf

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