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Ingham, Eaton, Clinton counties get lots of free military stuff

Originally posted August 25, 2014; updated August 27

 

Note: The earlier version of this story indicated that counties had to pay for the surplus military goods. I was wrong. It is free.

 

The recent troubles in Ferguson, Missouri have drawn attention to the militarization of local police forces. According to an August 17 Detroit Free Press story, they've been able to load up on surplus armament and equipment through a Department of Defense program - something like a gigantic garage sale, only everything is free (compliments of U.S. taxpayers). At this site, you can get a list of the stuff your county has received since the program began in 2006, along with what it would have cost had it not be donated.

 

With some help from someone a little more technically adept than I am, I've copied the data from the website and pasted it into an Excel spreadsheet, where I can calculate totals and sort the data into interesting sequences. For each county listed below, I have 4 sequences of data: item name, unit value, total value and ship date. Before I created the first 3 sequences, I consolidated items where the item name and cost were the same. For example, Ingham had fifty-three 5.56 millimeter rifles listed separately at $499 per unit, total value for each: $499. I deleted all but one and changed the quantity from 1 to 53. Excel recalculated the total value as $26,447. For the "ship date" sequence, I did no consolidating.

 

In addition to Ingham, Eaton and Clinton, I've done Barry, whose Barry Township police force has been in the news, and Allegan, where my brother-in-law is a county commissioner. Here they are, along with the total value of goods received since 2006. Click county name for detail:

Ingham

$1,967,381.55

Eaton

$1,175,047.46

Clinton

$3,980,910.44

Allegan

$1,700,327.77

Barry

$1,531,236.18

Now some observations:

  • Ingham's most expensive item was a MK3MOD0. They got 2 of them valued at $177,447 each. I googled MK3MOD0 and apparently it is a Remote Ordnance Neutralization System.

  • Clinton's most expensive item was an airplane at $3,100,000. They also got 3 tractors to tow it with valued at $30,000 each. Also a Forward Looking Infrared Imaging System for $544,482.41.

  • Here are some of the other man-toys they got:

 

Ingham

Eaton

Clinton

Allegan

Barry

 
Mine-resistant vehicle (MRAP) - 1 - 1 1  
Armored truck - - 1 - 2  

5.56 millimeter rifle

53

33

12

13 20  

7.62 millimeter rifle

24

8

88

5 10  

12 gage shotgun, riot type

10

-

-

- 3  

45 caliber automatic pistol

12

15

-

- -  

Grenade launcher

-

-

-

-

5

 

Now some questions:

  • What do you do with bayonets these days? Ingham got 141 of them, Eaton 15 and Clinton 24.

  • Don't the counties have some serious costs for storing all this equipment and keeping it secure?

  • Is it secure?

  • Does the county share the goods with police departments in municipalities within the county? Or is this all for the county sheriff?

  • What sort of enemy are they preparing for? The Russians? ISIS? Central American immigrants? Us?

Send comments to stevenrharry@gmail.com.