By the numbers: Military hardware in the hands of Kansas cops

Posted: Aug 21, 2014 1:12 PM
By the numbers: Military hardware in the hands of Kansas cops

By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — The federal government’s now-infamous 1033 program has played a huge part in placing military surplus equipment in the hands of local law enforcement. But while the ramifications of such actions are on full display in Ferguson, Mo., the Sunflower State isn’t immune from the trend of police militarization.

A database compiled by the Detroit Free Press details, by county, what kinds of military hardware have been shipped from the U.S. Armed Forces to your local law enforcement agency. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers you need to know:

4 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles

Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons

ROLLING HEAVY: The MRAP was designed for combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Designed to withstand high-explosive ordinance in the form of roadside bombs, the MRAP gained its street cred on the roads and battlegrounds of war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan. But now, they’re a defensive and intimidating force backing up community police officers. In all, four were distributed to law enforcement across Coffey, Sedgwick, Montgomery and Johnson counties, and are valued at a combined $2.14 million. Additionally, a generically classified tactical assault vehicle valued at $200,000 was distributed to law enforcement in Saline County.

2 grenade launchers

Photo courtesy the U.S. Marine Corps

BIG BOOM: At least two law enforcement agencies in Kansas have access to grenade launchers.

If this were a game of Family Feud, the average Joe would likely say a normal police load out includes handcuffs, a sidearm, a taser and probably some body armor. Well, in two Kansas counties,law enforcement has the option to bust out a grenade launcher. Valued at $720 apiece, one each was given to police in Ford and Saline counties since 2006.

Guns, and lots of them

Shutterstock image

WELL-ARMED: More than 1,000 surplus military firearms have been transferred to Kansas police.

Firearms are one of the things the military never has a shortage of, and a huge quantity of them have moved from the hands of soldiers to the grasp of law enforcement. According to federal records, Kansas law enforcement have received the following:

  • three riot type 12-gauge shotguns
  • 215 .45 caliber automatic pistols
  • 245 M14 rifles (7.62 mm)
  • 962 M16 rifles (5.56 mm)

Other assorted equipment

Shutterstock image

LESS FLASHY: Not all surplus acquisitions are about shock and awe, even the military has excess office supplies.

While the government’s military surplus program has put some seriously intimidating hardware into the hands of police, people often forget that the armed forces are a bureaucracy all their own, and they need the according equipment to make it happen. Other less-impressive acquisitions of military surplus include 77 office chairs, 80 sleeping mats, eight computer monitors, two ice machines, two exercise bikes and one elliptical exercise machine.

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