Brigantine police get five military vehicles for severe-weather

Associated Press
Posted: Friday, August 7, 2015, 11:59 PM
militaryBRIGANTINE, N.J. – A police department in this Shore town has acquired five military vehicles to assist officers during severe weather.

Lt. Jim Bennett said Thursday that the department had acquired four humvees and a five-ton cargo truck through a Defense Department program.

The vehicles can drive through water and will likely be used during hurricanes and other foul weather, Bennett said. The department sought the vehicles after two fire trucks were lost in flooding from Hurricane Sandy.

Police use of military vehicles came under scrutiny last year after their deployment during demonstrations surrounding the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Bennett said the vehicles had soft tops and doors, and would not be used as they were in Ferguson.

“There’s not going to be any show of force like you saw in Ferguson,” Bennett said.

The use of military vehicles caught the attention of lawmakers, who considered measures to rein in their deployment.

In March, Gov. Christie signed into law a measure requiring local governments to sign off on the acquisition of military vehicles by New Jersey police departments.

The Brigantine City Council gave a green light to the deal in July.

The department paid $340 in registration with the state, but otherwise the acquisition did not carry any cost, Bennett said.

The vehicles were obtained through the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which stretches back to 1990.

In 2013, an Associated Press investigation found that a disproportionate amount of the $4.2 billion worth of military equipment and other property had been distributed to police departments and sheriff’s offices in rural areas with little crime and few officers.

That investigation also found that the program operated with little oversight.

In May, President Obama announced the program would cut off distribution of some military equipment, including bayonets, grenade launchers, and vehicles with weapons

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150807_Brigantine_police_get_five_military_vehicles_for_severe-weather_duty.html#IYKdlYMwGQebzD7e.99

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