Arms race: Local police agencies snap up military gear

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The rapidly increasing militarization of the nation’s local police agencies has been a hot topic in the wake of the deadly shooting of African-American teenager by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the 13 years since the 9-11 attacks, hundreds of millions of dollars in military gear has made its way from the Pentagon to police forces as part of new government programs. That includes everything from assault rifles and bayonets to camouflage uniforms and armored vehicles.police-militarization

Civil libertarians have been complaining for a while that the zeal to prevent terror attacks has distorted the role and posture of local police – at times leading them to assume the role of invading army instead of public servants. Congress is now getting in on the act, holding hearings to determine if local police really need military equipment to perform their jobs.

If you’ve been wondering what kind of military gear your local police agency has on hand, the Sacramento Bee has an answer. The newspaper has published a searchable database listing all of the equipment acquired by police forces in California, including the LAPD and the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.