The Defense Department is giving away free equipment itary no longer needs to state and local police, such as fatigues for secret surveillance of drug labs and a tranquilizer gun to shoot bears, reports the Associated Press. About 16,000 police departments obtained more than 380,000 pieces of equipment in the 2005 budget year. The items, which include night-vision goggles, copy machines, helicopters, and bulletproof vests, were worth nearly $124 million.
Authorities in Bucks County, Pa., received two hand-me-down armored vehicles to protect officers in hostage standoffs. The total savings to local taxpayers: more than $70,000 apiece. The top recipients nationwide are California, with $17 million worth of equipment, followed by Indiana, $10.5 million, and North Carolina, $10 million. “We’ve gotten unbelievable stuff,” said police Sgt. Jim Forbes in Hampton, Va. “It’s benefiting a whole lot of folks in this business.”