Dude, check out all the military equipment that has been transfered to Michigan's police departments

Aug 21, 2014

The Saginaw County Sheriff's Department received a "Maxx Pro" Mine Resistant Ambush Proof vehicle from the U.S. Army in order to "prepare for something disastrous," according to Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel.

Brad Devereaux wrote about the department's decision to acquire the MRAP for MLive:

The truck's passenger compartment is bulletproof and designed to withstand a mine blast with a v-shaped undercarriage. 

"The V shape resists mine blasts away from the cab. It's very good at what it does," Undersheriff Robert Karl said, noting he found several videos online demonstrating the function.

At the time, Sheriff Federspiel said people shouldn't be concerned about "a military state" because he wouldn't let that happen.

But the giant MRAP makes an impression, and sends a message, whether intended or not.

Here's what these two dudes in Saginaw thought of it (language warning, these dudes are speaking candidly):

Devereaux now reports that the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department is planning to get rid of the vehicle. Federspiel said the plans were made prior to the department being criticized on HBO's Tonight with John Oliver.

This is just one military style vehicle transferred to police departments across the state.

"Has our city gotten that f***** bad?"

The New York Times posted data from the Pentagon showing all the military style gear that has flowed from the Defense Department to local police departments. 

The data show that from 2006 to early 2014, Michigan police departments received more than 10 MRAPS, a "fixed wing aircraft" in Clinton County, a "truck, tank" in Monroe County, helicopters in Wayne and Monroe counties, and thousands of other pieces of equipment like night vision goggles, rifles, and medical supplies.

The Times reports that this "Pentagon-to-police" transfer program is nothing new. It was created during the drug war to increase firepower. But things have changed in the wake of the post 9/11 wars:

Congress created it during the drug war, as a way to increase police firepower in the fight against drug gangs. But since 9/11, as the Pentagon geared up to fight two wars, then drew down as those wars ended, the amount of available military surplus has ballooned.

You can see the data for Michigan's "Pentagon-to-police" transfers here

You can see that some of this equipment makes sense to transfer, but some question the need for things like MRAPs in our community police departments.

As the dude in the video above asks, "Has our city gotten that f***** bad?"

*Correction - An earlier version of this story stated police in Monroe County obtained a tank. The database shows a "truck, tank." It's been corrected in the copy above.

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