Police departments throughout Ohio acquiring millions of dollars worth of surplus military gear.

Image: http://reason.com A Dayton Daily News investigation found budget-challenged Ohio…

Image: http://reason.com

A Dayton Daily News investigation found budget-challenged Ohio departments are increasingly using military surplus to arm and equip their staff — last year acquiring a record $12 million in equipment and weapons through the Pentagon’s 1033 program.

That was more than a third of the $33 million in surplus gear obtained since the program started in the mid-1990s. On top of that, Ohio police have received more than 6,000 firearms valued at $2 million, mostly M16 assault rifles.

Law enforcement officials like Maj. Robert Chabali, who heads the Dayton Police SWAT team, said the program gets extra life out of military equipment already purchased with tax dollars while giving police access to equipment they couldn’t otherwise afford.

But critics say the program is fueling an increasing militarization of police that has civil rights and public safety implications. They say heavily armed SWAT teams, originally formed to respond to rare events like sniper and hostage situations, now often are used for routine police work like the execution of search warrants, sometimes resulting in botched raids and even deaths of innocent residents.

Read the rest of Tom Beyerlein’s article at Dayton Daily News.

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  • Matt in Oklahoma

    @ Chris
    Who is us? The guy with a kilo isn’t us that needs protecting. He is the threat. He’s certainly not part of us as in me.

  • Chris

    SWAT should not be used for low-risk search warrants. Or do the police just assume that a warrant op will be high-risk all the time? Do they distrust the populace that much? Does one man with a kilo of weed, armed or not, pose that serious a threat? They’re supposed to protect us. Instead, it seems they consider us the enemy.