Contact Us
Make My Homepage

New Jersey lawmakers question police military gear

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Some New Jersey lawmakers are calling for a review of a program that has delivered millions of dollars in surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies following violent clashes between police and protesters in Missouri.

U.S. War In Afghanistan Drags On, As Withdrawal Date Nears
Andrew Burton, Getty Images

New Jersey counties have received hundreds of automatic rifles, as well as armored vehicles, night-vision binoculars and even a grenade launcher in shipments through the program, according to data provided by the Defense Logistics Agency. The equipment is valued at nearly $32 million, according to a spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office.

Local law enforcement officials say the equipment can be life-saving — especially during natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy, when traditional police vehicles were inundated by floodwaters.

But some lawmakers, including Democratic state Sen. Nia Gill, are questioning the militarization of local police forces following the violence in Ferguson, Missouri touched off by the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old by police. Images of officers atop armored vehicles, dressed in military gear and carrying assault weapons have prompted questions from about the potential problems with arming local law enforcement with equipment meant for war — a practice Gill said she hadn’t realized was so prevalent.

“I had no idea of the extent of the program,” Gill said Monday. She wrote to a letter New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman on Friday asking him to review the state’s administration of the program.

“I recognize that some of the supplies provided under the program may be useful to local departments; however, the equipment transferred includes armored vehicles, a grenade launcher and military-style assault weapons. This is equipment that appears suitable for war zones, not for our neighborhood streets,” she wrote in the letter, which was first reported by The Star-Ledger newspaper.

Since the inception of program there have been no reported allegations of misuse of the de-commissioned equipment, said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office. In fact, some of the equipment was used during Superstorm Sandy and other Hurricane Irene, “including some of the very vehicles highlighted in some recent press accounts,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. said he recognized the potential use of some equipment in natural disasters, but called for a moratorium pending oversight hearings in Congress.

“While some of this may be used for civilian purposes, you have to question whether or not a lot this material is appropriate for a local police department,” he said. “I think that the program has to be looked at again and there has to be some serious congressional oversight.”

 

 

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Best of the Web


Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!