End the Lie

Georgia police acquired $200 million worth of military-grade vehicles and weapons through DoD

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Cobb County Police Department's armored personnel carrier (Image credits: End the Lie compilation/CrooksandLiars/CobbCountyGA.gov/TheRealIsraelites)

Cobb County Police Department’s armored personnel carrier (Image credits: End the Lie compilation/CrooksandLiars/CobbCountyGA.gov/TheRealIsraelites)

Some 600 police departments and sheriff’s offices in Georgia have joined the many law enforcement agencies nationwide using military-grade equipment, once again raising concerns around local law enforcement’s need for such heavy duty weaponry.

As I reported in 2011, the Pentagon gives away military equipment to law enforcement agencies under the 1033 program in addition to military robots provided by the Department of Defense, police use of armored surveillance vehicles provided for nearly nothing by corporations, law enforcement use of tanks and armored personnel carriers and drones.

According to Georgia’s Department of Public Safety, the military equipment and weaponry owned by law enforcement agencies in the state is worth some $200 million, some of which is possessed by tiny departments with less than 20 officers.

In an attempt to justify this militarization, Bloomingdale Police Chief Roy Pike told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “officers ‘are armed to meet any threat,’ so criminals should just stay away.”

“Having the equipment precludes having to use it,” Pike said. “In the 20 years I’ve been here, we haven’t had to use deadly force against anybody.”

Yet Pike’s department, with a mere 13 officers, acquired a grenade launcher for shooting tear gas, two M14 semiautomatic rifles and two semiautomatic M16 rifles all through the Pentagon’s 1033 program, according to the Journal-Constitution.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, which had 117 sworn law enforcement officers as of 2010, according to their most recent annual report on their website, similarly obtained four grenade launchers.

Highlighting the absurdity and complete lack of necessity behind these acquisitions, the Journal-Constitution reported, “Several local law enforcement officials said if their agencies had to buy the stuff, they’d just do without most of it. But since it’s donated, they find a place for it.”

In other words, they really don’t need it, but since the military is giving it away, they take it anyway and simply “find a place for it,” whatever that means.

Emphasizing the absurdity of this type of activity, Tim Lynch, the director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice said, “When this equipment is given away, police departments start saying, ‘Let’s grab it.’”

Once the military equipment is in the hands of law enforcement agencies, “we have militarized units going into the community in situations where they aren’t warranted,” Lynch said.

Lynch is also the editor of two books, has published articles in law journals and major newspapers, made appearances on national news shows, a member of the Wisconsin, District of Colombia and Supreme Court bars and is heavily involved with the Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project.

“This is one of the most alarming trends in American policing,” Lynch said, referring to the increasingly common militarization of local law enforcement.

“We used to call them peace officers and they would treat people … with more respect and civility,” he said to the Journal-Constitution. “We’re getting away from that. We’re getting into these military tactics and mindset that the people they (police) come into contact with are the enemy … and part of this is the militarized units in police departments.”

Indeed, it is only logical that the militarized training and military-grade equipment would create a military mindset officers who should be trained to protect and serve.

According to Georgia state records, some of the acquisitions include:

  • One armored truck, 106 M16s and eight M14s for the Cobb County Police Department (in addition to a second armored vehicle purchased using federal grant funds)
  • One armored personnel carrier, 15 M16s and 12 M14s for the Newnan Police Department
  • Two armored personnel carriers and 16 M15 rifles for the Waycross Police Department
  • One armored personnel carrier and 17 M14 rifles for the Cartersville Police Department
  • One helicopter, one armored truck, 11 M16s and five M14s for the Clayton County Police Department
  • One armored personnel carrier for the Doraville Police Department
  • One armored truck for the Georgia Department of Corrections
  • Seven armored vehicles for the Georgia Department of Homeland Security
  • Armored trucks for the Sandy Springs Police Department and Pelham Police Department along with the Gordon, Morgan, Oconee, Pickens and Walton county sheriff’s offices

Overall, some 600 law enforcement agencies in Georgia have obtained 3,532 military-grade rifles, eight grenade launchers, 26 armored trucks/personnel carriers and 26 “unaccounted for weapons,” according to the Journal-Constitution.

According to state records, the U.S. Department of Defense values each of the armored personnel carriers at nearly $245,000 and each of the armored trucks around $65,000.

State records did not list a value for the rifles or grenade launchers, although one can assume that they’re not all that cheap.

Unsurprisingly, proponents of the program claim they save lives – even though, as shown above, agencies say they could do without it if they had to actually buy it – and there is a waiting list of agencies itching to get their hands on armored vehicles and military weapons.

“It gives the … SWAT guys a protection to where they can get closer to the folks shooting at them,” said Don Sherrod.

Sherrod is the Director of Excess Property for the Georgia Department of Public Safety and overseer of the program for the Department of Defense.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, “Excess Property was formally created in 1991 to provide a coordinated means for state and local law enforcement agencies to obtain excess Department of Defense (DOD) equipment.”

Excess Property also assists law enforcement agencies in purchasing equipment using Federal government contracts.

“When you pull up in something … and the bullets start bouncing off, they (criminals) give up,” Sherrod said.

While the Cobb County Police Department said their SWAT team uses their armored vehicles to remove people from a “hot zone” or get officers closer to a “volatile situation,” other agencies have not even used their equipment.

Captain Craig Dodson of the Carroll County Sherrif’s Office, for example, said they haven’t used their grenade launchers or any of their 65 M16 rifles.

“Our goal is to try to equip every patrolman in the law enforcement division with a rifle,” Dodson told the Journal-Constitution.

“The M16 … gives you more capability to penetrate body armor or to make long-distance shots if you are not able to get closer,” Dodson continued. “It’s a safety blanket. We ask people to go out and do a job, and we want to give them the tools to be safe and do the job.”

The Journal-Constitution cites several local residents who are quite concerned by this military buildup.

“What are we headed to?” Asked Candace Garrett Daly, a Cobb County resident. “Whatever it is seems to be already in motion at a breakneck speed. The police are preparing for an enemy. My question is, ‘Who is the enemy?’”

What do you think of the increasing militarization of law enforcement agencies? Let us know in the comments section of this post, on Twitter or on our Facebook page.

UPDATE: The Journal-Constitution article states that the M-16 rifles were converted to semi-automatic.

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23 Responses to Georgia police acquired $200 million worth of military-grade vehicles and weapons through DoD

  1. Joene February 2, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    What concerns me is that now that a list of which police departments have grenade launchers and M16s etc. I think you are going to see a rash of thefts from the police department of this kind of equipment which will then be in the hands of the terrorists.

    However, the fact that any department would think they would need a grenade launcher is kind of scary. Maybe the police should level with us as to how serious is the threat they may think they need to defend against, and who it is.

    Think maybe you could find out?

  2. TheRunningMan February 2, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Americans are really really stupid, they are allowing taxpayer dollars to pay for their own enslavement and slaughter, and remain clueless to that fact.

    • RS February 2, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Running Moron:
      And just how do we go about stopping the criminal government from doing that? Call our congressmen? Set up our own roadblocks? It seems the only stupid/moronic one here is YOU! One day your ignorant words will come back to haunt you, if you think this is limited to America. We are currently under siege by a out of control government. Soon the whole world will be, and what will you cry about then?

      • daTruth February 15, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        There is not much we can do.. only pray.
        Don’t waste your time worrying what will happen or what we going to do. For this things must come to past.
        Focus your time on saving people’s souls, bring Jesus into their life. This world is run by Satan, but the world after is going to be run by God.

        Ephesians 6:12
        “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

        • John February 17, 2013 at 8:04 AM

          I’ve been praying for over 50 years….and this is what I have to show for it….a police state. Wutz up with that?

  3. Ricky Ross February 2, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Fundamentally, one can not “SERVE” you while they simultaneously “POLICE” you! Wake up people, the police do not work for the people, they work for the corporation that employs them!!!

  4. Derpsky February 2, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Running man and RS you both sound as if you are opposed to the same thing so why are you insulting each other? LoL
    As for RickyRoss -Amen!

  5. John W. February 2, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Check your nomenclature-the M-14 and M-16 are not “semi-automatic” rifles-they are select-fire rifles capable of full-automatic fire-in other words, REAL “assault rifles.”

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  7. Nora February 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Yup, those are military grade rifles. Yup I have personally seen the armored swat thing up on Marietta Square, and black helicopters. The federal government is GIVING this crap to the local police, we aren’t in control of how our tax dollars are utilized in it’s purchase, and yes we should be damn concerned who they’re getting ready to assault, since it’s us.

    • Jwogea February 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      We will be over run by the people who are supposed to protect and serve us. Obama is getting ready to assault the very people who put him into office. It would serve them right except I live here to and my rights and freedoms will and are being lost right along with the sheep that elected Him.

  8. Olddog February 4, 2013 at 5:52 AM

    Freedom is not obtained by voting! It is obtained by FORCE! I.E. JUST AS ALL GOVERNANCE IS FORCE, SO IS FREEDOM.
    “It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from his government.” -Thomas Paine
    Fight or die, your choice!

  9. InBetweenTheLines February 5, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    These weapons will be used on those forced to pay for them.

    How many terrorists in the US? How many in Georgia? If they use the same tactics in the US as they do elsewhere, how is an armored personnel carrier going to help AFTER the suicide bomber has blown himself up? What good will the M16’s do? But these tools will be great for when the patriots take to the streets and those in charge don’t want them there. Look around the rest of the world & see how protests are squashed.

  10. Pingback: The Security of a FREE State….

  11. Ray M February 6, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    Yes to couple this news with the millions of rounds of ammunition our supposed government is stock piling, it’s my opinion they are getting ready to go door to door taking guns away from the american people. RM

  12. STARK February 7, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    This is Waco times 1000. The federal government is a murderous psycopathic crime syndicate. How do people not see this? They murder people while wrapping themselves in the flag and American citizen’s patriotism. There is no crime that they can commit without total impunity. They are preparing for a massive purge while telling people riddled with irrational fear that this is for their own protection. We have passed the point of no return. Local police need to take a stand against this instead of being power hungry fools thinking these federal handouts make them part of the club. Sure, let the feds pass these military weapons out, but for the love of god, local police, stand with us! Stop being pawns in the assured enslavement of your own children and grandchildren. For once will the American people stop being so willfully ignorant! The longer we deny this glaringly obvious truth, the harder it will be to resist these jackals and vanquish them from power.

  13. Serena February 7, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    So, what’s the problem? Should they have smelted the equipment instead of recycling it? You can win everything. Even tiny, under-supported districts need firepower. What do you want????? A police force full of lambs? See how you feel about that when your kids go missing. “Officer, please bring out the tanks, and fuck the known sex offender’s civil rights. Go get my kid.”

  14. Charlie Enright February 9, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    This is standard equipment for some police departments. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be the accepted standard for those departments that can’t afford this protection. It’s only going to be used in SWAT situations anyway. This is militarization to a level that we have already accepted across America. This is not a sign of something changing, just that our country is using it’s resources more effectively by recycling instead of feeding the military industrial complex our taxes a second time.

  15. ron paul February 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Don’t blame me, I voted for RON PAUL – who understands that this is not good !

  16. guy February 15, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    Paranoid freaks

    • Spirit1776 February 15, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      Oh yeah buddy — we’re the paranoid ones. How dare we ask why our local law enforcement need full auto’s and mobile pill boxes. So much ammo that you can’t buy any off the shelves anywhere in the country. Exactly who are they planningon going to war with?

  17. Juanita Holloway-Walters February 19, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Just because I am conservative doesn’t mean I expect the worst outcome. First, with countries like China and Russia doing war games with an American enemy in mind, I believe we need a greatermilitary presence at home. We do not have enough military bases open in the U S to cover being invaded. We need for enemies to think twice before thinking about putting their boots on our soil. Second, I have serious doubts whether our sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers would wage war on their families /communities. I know it is real popular right now to suspect our militarized police departments, but I don’t see that.
    ONE MORE IDEA – We could not have armed millions of Americans quicker than we have in the last few years. It is possible all thi gun control talk is to mmilitarize the population. Who hasn’t bought a gun in the last 24 months? Just sayin’ . . . the word is that Congress will not pass or enforce meaningful gun laws. Just bluffing to armthe nation. All things are possible folks.

  18. 2gamelfot May 31, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    I’m extremely pleased to uncover this page. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new information on your web site.


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