A tool to track Defense Department hardware sent to local governments | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A tool to track Defense Department hardware sent to local governments

Posted By on Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 7:10 AM

click to enlarge MILITARY HARDWARE: Bryant police got an MRAP and display it at community events, such as in this photo from the agency's Facebook page.
  • MILITARY HARDWARE: Bryant police got an MRAP and display it at community events, such as in this photo from the agency's Facebook page.

Much has been written about the distribution of heavy military armament — from grenade launchers to armored personnel carriers — to local governments, from coroners to school districts. Some of the distribution in Arkansas has been noted before.

But now the Marshall Project has created a tool to easily search for military equipment in your area. It writes about how this information only recently and quietly became fully available and the publicity has already made some cringe. The Los Angeles School District, for example, decided maybe it didn't need grenade launchers after all.

Check it out below. Click on the city or agency named and you'll get a drop-down list of equipment. Little Rock police, for example, have gotten, among others, two mine-resistant vehicles and one "light armored" vehicle, together worth about $2 million. And the Little Flock Police Department? Five .45-caliber automatic pistols and one 7.62 millimeter rifle.

Benton police seem to be arming up for sniper action. It got 46 thermal sights, 10 night vision sniper scopes, and 51 reflex sights, along with a mine-resistant vehicle, four utility trucks and, perhaps to haul the carnage, an ambulance.

Then there's the Arkansas Tobacco Control Board, which picked a 12-gauge riot shotgun.

The sweepstakes winner is the Bryant Police Department, with more than $3 million worth of gear, enough for a good-sized Army surplus store, including 100 body bags and an MRAP, a mine-resistant armored vehicle that it painted in department colors.

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