|MRAP, photo from http://defense-update.com/|
The Defense Department provides this equipment for free, under a program dating back to 1990. Some of the equipment given out is not weapons related, it includes clothing, first aid kits, gloves, rucksacks, etc.
However, the list also includes armored trucks, M16 semi-automatic rifles, and grenade launchers, and the equipment comes with few restrictions or requirements for training.
The Connecticut Post has published an article on the surplus military equipment now owned by police forces in our state.
The Middletown Police Department owns only one military surplus item, a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle (MRAP), with a listed value of $733,000, which it received on February 13th of this year. In comparison, Meriden received equipment worth $176,000, including two dozen M16 rifles, a grenade launcher and several trucks. West Hartford has a grenade launcher, M16 rifles, and ammunition.
I emailed Lieutenant Heather Desmond, spokeswoman for the MPD, about our city's new vehicle. Her reply is below.
Well, we just got it and had it painted. It’s in our back lot with the rest of our equipment. It will be used primarily with SWAT, but it would be used in a big snow storm, like the one we had two winters ago. It’s good for up to six feet of snow. So it could be used to get someone to medical attention in bad weather, it could be used in SWAT call outs depending on the scenario. The vehicle is called an MRAP. There was an overstock with the government so they were offered to police departments at no charge. We just had to pay to ship it here. As for training it will be incorporated in the SWAT training. It would also be to use in an active shooter incident since it’s armored. If an officer or civilian was injured but there was still a potential threat then we could utilize the vehicle to get to the injured person safely.