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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review Urged of Police Military Donation Program

By Ann Radelat

Washington – Images of Ferguson, Mo., police dressed in riot gear, riding in massive armored vehicles and using high-power rifles like those used by the U.S..military has sparked debate on the wisdom of militarizing police forces,  including those in Connecticut, by giving them cast off Pentagon equipment. Image
Police in Willimantic, pop. 17,737 (2010), received a military vehicle for its SWAT team. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Willimantic Police photo

Since the Defense Department established its Excess Property Program, also known as the 1033 program, in 1997, police departments across the state have acquired dozens of military assault rifles, grenade launchers, night vision equipment, mine resistant and armored vehicles and even a helicopter from the Defense Department. (See WestportNow Aug. 20, 2014)

The Hartford Police Department, for instance has received more than 30 assault rifles, night vision equipment, pistols, body armor and a mine-resistant vehicle from the DOD.

Police departments in New London, New Haven, Fairfield County – which also received a helicopter – have been given similar equipment. Even the 42-member Willimantic Police Department has received the gift of an armored vehicle from the Army.

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