by Crash, with Scooter and Trash
You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department’s surplus equipment program. You probably have not heard about some of the more obscure beneficiaries of the Pentagon giveaway:
Police in Johnston, R.I., with a population less than 29,000, acquired two bomb disposal robots, 10 tactical trucks, 35 assault rifles, more than 100 infrared gun sights and two pairs of footwear designed to protect against explosive mines. The Johnson police department has 67 sworn officers.
The parks division of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources was given 20 M-16 rifles, while the fish and wildlife enforcement division obtained another 20 M-16s, plus eight M-14 rifles and ten .45-caliber automatic pistols.
Campus police at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, received 12 M-16s to help protect the 8,811 students there (or perhaps to keep them in line).
The warden service of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received a small aircraft, 96 night vision goggles, 67 gun sights and seven M-14 rifles.
For more than 20 years, the Pentagon program that distributes surplus weapons, aircraft and vehicles to police departments nationwide received little attention or scrutiny. Defense Department officials closely guarded the details of which agencies across the country received which items.
The program has doled out $5 billion in equipment since 1990. Most of it was general office and maintenance equipment – shovels, copiers, computers – but the Pentagon largesse included tactical military equipment worth more than $1.4 billion, disseminated in 203,000 transfers to about 7,500 agencies. Even after the last year of scrutiny, the program continues to chug along, transferring $28 million in tactical equipment in the past three months.
Value of Tactical Items Distributed by Department of Defense 1033 Program
SOURCE: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY, DISPOSITION SERVICES
The program came under scrutiny earlier this year due to reporting by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. The controversy intensified in August, after news coverage of protests in Ferguson flashed images around the world of heavily armed and armored police facing off with protesters. Police around the country have received tactical equipment through the 1033 program, including helicopters and trucks.
As recently as October, the department’s Defense Logistics Agency, which manages the equipment distribution effort, rejected Freedom of Information Act requests for a detailed accounting of what equipment has been given to whom. The agency provided only county-by-county information about the donations. Then, on Nov. 21, the Pentagon shifted course, posting the full details of the program with no announcement.
Few critics have taken issue with the recycling of general equipment, but many have raised concerns about local police agencies, including campus police, being armed with tactical equipment intended for combat on foreign soil.
Wolfe City Texas Police Department
Which brings us to this months Government Surplus Tea Topic. Wolfe City Police Department. Most people have never heard of Wolfe City including myself until one of my biker buddies mentioned they have armored vehicles. Being somewhat cynical and equally suspicious that a podunk police department has armored military vehicles with full armaments I had to investigate this myself.
This Tea Break we are having Twinnings Earl Grey served in small simple white cups. Now legend has it that the second Earl Grey, was presented with this exquisite recipe by an envoy on his return from China. He liked it so much he asked Richard Twining to recreate it for him. Generations have enjoyed Earl Grey tea and today the tradition continues with the tea celebrated throughout the world known as Twining Earl Grey. A fine black tea expertly selected from Africa, India and Sri Lanka. I am having mine black and straight up. Scooter added one coffee creamer (non flavored) while Trash insisted on a shot of Jim Beam.
Wolfe City is a city in Hunt County, Texas, United States, located at the intersection of state highways 34 and 11. It is 17 miles north of Greenville in north-central Hunt County, and was settled in the 1860s or 1870s when J. Pinckney Wolfe built a mill near the banks of Oyster Creek. The population was 1,412 at the 2010 census, down from 1,566 at the 2000 census
Several antiquated M113’s sit idle waiting on a mechanical miracle as well as expensive and obsolete parts.
The police department for a town of 1400 folks is not incredibly large. None the less I did manage to find a couple of antiquated M113’s that appear to be of the Vietnam War Era or possibly late 1970’s. No proof that they belong to the Police Department. The first M113 is one of those later models they modified with a turret. It appears to be either a 20mm or a 25mm. No idea if either vehicle is serviceable. The other is a M113 personnel carrier so the ones with the M16’s hop in the back of this one I presume. The other is likely too crowded with ammo for that 20mm to hold many storm troopers.
I can only imagine both rolling down the street to the crack house with the lead opening fire with that 20mm semi auto cannon blowing the front door and half the house down. Them the boys with those surplus automatic weapons in their government surplus trousers and belts running across the lawn. Covered by another in a kneeling position with an expensive reflex sight on his rifle. I would like to watch them in action. Maybe if we painted our bikes flat black or camo they might deputize us and let us participate.
Or maybe they are getting ready to invade Arkansas?
What was revealed from a previous Freedom of Information Act Request was that they small police department obtained over $1,000.000.00 worth of military surplus recently. What do they need all that for? So, I managed to obtain a detailed list that I am going to break down.
– WOLFE CITY POLICE DEPT $1,672,302.05
GENERATOR SET,DIESEL ENGINE,TRAILER MOUNTED 1 $10,985.00
HAND TOOLS, NONEDGED, NONPOWERED 3 $7,500.00
TANK AND PUMP UNIT,FUEL DISPENSING,TRUCK MOUNTING 1 $7,152.00
PLOTTER 1 $7,000.00
CONTAINER,FREIGHT,GENERAL PURPOSE 1 $6,171.80
TOOLBOX 24 $4,939.18
ROPE,WIRE 235 $4,564.00
SHIPPING AND STORAGE CONTAINER,MISCELLANEOUS EQUIPMENT 1 $4,278.98
COMPUTER,DIGITAL 3 $3,000.00
POST,FENCE,METAL 434 $2,721.18
FREEZER 1 $2,500.00
RIFLE,5.56 MILLIMETER 3 $2,247.00
TOOL KIT,GENERAL MECHANIC’S 1 $1,805.00
SHOP VACUUM 1 $1,655.81
AIR DRIER AND COOLER,PIPELINE 4 $1,597.32
CABLE KIT,SPECIAL POWER 3 $1,188.00
SIGHT,REFLEX 3 $1,020.00
FIXTURE,LIGHTING 1 $550.61
MULE 1 $500.00
REFRIGERATOR-FREEZER,MECHANICAL,FOOD 1 $360.94
BINDER,LOAD 12 $360.00
INDOOR, OUTDOOR ELECTRIC LIGHTING FIXT 2 $358.76
FILE CABINET 2 $300.00
MAGAZINE,CARTRIDGE 30 $299.40
BELT,V 10 $293.60
MONITOR, COMPUTER 3 $240.00
TROUSERS,MEN’S 5 $166.85
RANGE 1 $150.00
WASHING MACHINE 1 $150.00
SCOOTER,MOTOR 2 $0.02
I do not see any M113 vehicles on that list. I don’t see any crew weapons either, just 3 M16s. There are some reflex sights for $1020. I would lay odds they have got those on a better rifles than military surplus. I hope it is a good one and not some Chinese junk from Academy Sporting Goods.
My pals Scooter and Trash seem to think they might be starting some kind of construction business over in Wolfe City. Maybe they needed some equipment to maintain and haul those old junk M113’s around. I did note one of them had a hell of an oil leak. You could probably declare a hazmat incident when its running from the look of the leak under that old thing.
Tea is gone and time to get riding. If you find yourself over in Wolfe City and see one of the cops there, take a few moments and admire their belt and trousers. Must be special… they only have 5 pair for the entire force and they were used to begin with.
Interested in what your local law enforcement has from the Military? Here is a link. It breaks down by state and starts off with New York.
Go figure it out and happy browsing!
See ya at the next Tea Time break