Law enforcement agencies across the country have begun obtaining military equipment and other non-traditional resources in order to carry out their duties. The United States government is allowing agencies from coast to coast to acquire the equipment at significantly discounted rates and has been doing so for the last few years, much to the dismay of some of the citizens whom these agencies are tasked with protecting.
Most people who learn of this activity are under the initial assumption that it is only agencies in large metro areas that are involved. But even many towns with populations as low as 10,000 people or fewer have also begun to receive military equipment, hardware, and weaponry from the federal government.
One of the most surprising pieces of equipment that these local law enforcement agencies have been procuring is the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, which have a price tag of between a quarter million and three-quarters of a million dollars. It is unclear what exactly these vehicles might be needed for in civilian areas, but nevertheless many municipalities have purchased at least one, and some have purchased as many as a dozen or more.
But the MRAPs are not the only pieces of military-grade equipment that local law enforcement is taking advantage of. They are also purchasing weaponry such as automatic weapons with Teflon-coated, armor piercing ammunition and grenade launchers.
The equipment is routinely paid for with grant money from the US Department of Homeland Security and come at such a discounted rate that agencies simply are unable to refuse.
But while the source of funds is the question on the minds of many observers, the bigger question that citizens are asking is ‘why’? What exactly does local law enforcement need such heavy artillery for? The answer is quite simply that crime is evolving. The job of protecting citizens in America is becoming more dangerous with the proliferation of domestic terrorism and law enforcement needs to evolve as well.
It is not something that neither citizens nor L.E. officers are necessarily happy about, but the escalating possibility of violence in our communities dictates that equivalent precautions be taken.