FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE/AP) – Congress authorized the Pentagon to give surplus military equipment to police in 1990 in order to help the fight against drugs, and then against the fight against terrorism. A report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that the amount of goods transferred through the military surplus program rose from $1 million in 1990 to nearly $450 million in 2013.
Many are expressing concerns over the military equipment given to civilian police departments after the public absorbed images of heavily-armed officers and military-style vehicles rolling through suburban streets in Ferguson. President Obama weighed in on the issue on Monday, saying that it would be useful to examine how federal grant dollars had been used to allow local police to purchase military-style equipment.
Indiana has received $45,378,246.04 worth of military surplus items since 1995 as part of that program, according to a spreadsheet NewsChannel 15 received from the Indiana Department of Administration.
Northeast Indiana has received more than $2 million of that equipment since 1998.
This is how it breaks down county-by-county:
- Adams - $51,232.59
- Allen – $210,184.80
- DeKalb – $156,874.74
- Huntington – $593,758.70
- Noble - $217,308.40
- Steuben - $788,822.25
- Wabash – $9,179.00
- Wells – $2,272.00
- Whitley - $9,897.65
Among the equipment given to law enforcement in the area is a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera. It is listed as ‘DESC=FORWARD LOOKING INF’ on the spreadsheet and, according to multiple sites, including Raytheon, it is a piece of equipment for military and civilian planes that senses infrared radiation. It can be used to help pilots steer in fog or at night. It went to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department in 2011 and is worth more than $500,000.
The Auburn Police Department in DeKalb County received an M79 grenade launcher in 2008. More than 200 M16 rifles have been distributed to the various law enforcement agencies along with 73 M14 rifles, 174 .45 caliber pistols and 20 .38 revolvers.
The Fort Wayne Police Department has received $172,720 worth of equipment that includes an armored V150 armored car, 40 M16s, and 20 M14s. Police at IPFW received nine M16s and 12 .45 caliber pistols.