A look at regional Police Departments use of military equipment

By KBJR News 1

August 21, 2014 Updated Aug 21, 2014 at 6:36 PM CST

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com)--- Many area police departments have acquired military equipment recently, everything from armored cars to grenade launchers to assault rifles.

It's part of the federally backed "1033 program" which gives military surplus equipment and supplies to local law enforcement.

The Grand Rapids Police Department, for example, received a Grenade launcher in 1998 .

"We received this from the military surplus for the use of a military gas gun, not a grenade launcher, we don't have any grenades, just for gas, getting a barricaded suspects out of buildings," said Asst. Chief Steven Schaar with the Grand Rapids Police Dept.

The tear gas launcher is set for use by the Grand Rapids SWAT team, but although the department got it 17 years ago, they have yet to use it.

"We've never had to use it other than just training purposes," said Chaar.

More recently in May, the Superior Police Department acquired a 47-thousand pound Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle.

"This vehicle will be used in situations where somebody is either shooting at the public, at our officers, or situations where it's possible that the person we're seeking would shoot at our officers," said Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse.

The vehicle was first used by US Military in Kuwait. The MRAP is a 700 thousand dollar vehicle that the department received for 45-hundred... the price of shipping from Texas. The Superior Police Department has only used it for training purposes, but says it will be a valuable asset.

"It's really hard to measure in dollars and cents because where it will be valuable is a situation where somebody's shooting at our officers or shooting at the public and it provides protection and that would far exceed the value that we paid for it," said LaGesse.

But the department says it's not about stocking up on the most military equipment

"We would say no if it's something that doesn't benefit this organization," said LaGesse.

The Superior Police Department also received Coast Guard Boats for its dive team and around 20 A-R 15 rifles through the 10-33 program.
Meanwhile, The Duluth Police Department received 40 A-R 15 semi-automatic rifles in 1999.

The 1033 program has provided more than $4 billion dollars in military equipment to law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation since it's inception.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com

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