(May 12, 2014) – As the American military draws down its commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, stateside ports, armories, depots and warehouses are packed with excess military material and vehicles, some of them none-the-worse from their tours in overseas war zones.
A lot of those weapons, uniforms, trucks and mine-resistant vehicles are patrolling the streets of central Indiana at virtually no cost to local law enforcement agencies.
“It saves a substantial amount of money,” said Steve Harless, deputy commissioner of the Indiana Department of Administration. “Last year alone we saved approximately $14 million and this year we’re on pace to save a little over $13 million.”
That’s millions of tax dollars saved by 326 Indiana sheriffs and police chiefs who otherwise could not afford the gear they say they need to protect the public from increasingly heavily armored criminals.
“When I first started we really didn’t have the violence that we see today,” said Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department. “The weaponry is totally different now that it was in the beginning of my career, plus, you have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build IEDs and to defeat law enforcement techniques.”