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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Take it back

Giving back free stuff -- somehow, I don't think it will beome a trend:

NEW ALBANY, Ind. - A southern Indiana police chief plans to return four Humvee vehicles his department received as military surplus this year from the Department of Defense.

New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey says the vehicles were acquired by his predecessor as chief and that he's found they don't fit the department's needs.

[. . .]

The four Humvees were acquired at no cost under a Pentagon program that equips local police with surplus military weapons. The White House has ordered a review of the program after complaints about the militarization of police departments.

I think the president is right to seek a review of equipping police departments from excess military supplies. Police use what they have, and if they have a lot of military equipment, they will tend to become militarized, which means they are likely to overreact by responding with more force than necessary.


A report by the American Civil Liberties Union in June said police agencies had become "excessively militarized," with officers using training and equipment designed for the battlefield on city streets. The report found the amount of goods transferred through the military surplus program rose in value from $1 million in 1990 to nearly $450 million in 2013.
 "Every police force of any size in this country has access to those kinds of weapons now," said David Harris, a police expert at the University of Pittsburgh law school. "It makes it more likely to be used (and) is an escalation all by itself."