Ban lifted on military surplus for NC law enforcement agencies

Ban lifted on military surplus for NC law enforcement agencies (Image 1)_28658

The federal government has lifted an 11-month ban on a military surplus program that allows state law enforcement agencies to claim free military equipment, including weapons and office furniture.

The North Carolina Law Enforcement Services Section was on suspension from March 2014 until Feb. 10 due to a missed deadline of inventory reporting by the state Department of Public Safety, which coordinates distribution of the military gear.

Prior to its suspension, there were 269 law enforcement agencies active in the surplus program. The Department of Public Safety said another 58 law enforcement agencies have additionally signed on to the federal program.

Twenty agencies — including Mebane Police, Parks and Recreation, Pittsboro Police and Lee County Sheriff — have requested removal from the program, and DPS said 29 were removed for “non-compliance to standards.”

Agencies can once again begin receiving surplus Defense Department gear beginning this month.

According to DPS, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30, 2009, it distributed $719,526 worth of military equipment to 17 law enforcement agencies across the state. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2009, the department distributed $2,453,532 worth of equipment to 143 law enforcement agencies.

According to the New York Times, Wake County has 168 assault rifles, 18 helicopters, four grenade launchers and two armored vehicles. Orange County has 44 assault rifles and six armored vehicles. And Harnett County has 96 body armor pieces, 12 assault rifles and two mine resistant vehicles.

Durham’s Selective Enforcement Unit is additionally equipped with an armored vehicle that it uses to transport personnel or to provide cover in tactical situations, as well as M-16 rifles converted to semi-automatics for police snipers.

The New York Times reports Durham has a surplus of 192 assault rifles.

  • Click Here for NC’s active inventory of military surplus

The Raleigh Police Department said the agency has not purchased any big items like helicopters, armored vehicles or grenade launchers. However it acknowledged it has some military night vision equipment, rifle scopes and ammunition cans.

The Defense Department program was established in the early 1990s.


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