Amid criticism of the deployment of military-grade weapons and vehicles by police officers in Ferguson, Mo., NPR obtained Pentagon data on every military item sent to local, state and federal agencies through the Pentagon’s Law Enforcement Support Office (known as the 1033 program) from 2006 through April 23, 2014. The list includes more than 600 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs, mostly distributed in the past year. Los Angeles County got nine of them.
Among other items on the list: 79,288 assault rifles, 205 grenade launchers, 11,959 bayonets, 3,972 combat knives, $124 million worth of night-vision equipment, including night-vision sniper scopes, 479 bomb detonator robots. 50 airplanes, including 27 cargo transport airplanes, 422 helicopters, and more than $3.6 million worth of camouflage gear and other “deception equipment.” Actual weaponry, not including vehicles, accounts for just over 3 percent of the total value of all goods sent out by the Pentagon between 2006 and April. Areas with large populations or high crime rates aren’t necessarily receiving more or less than their share of the items. Nor is a greater amount of equipment sent to areas along the U.S. borders or coasts, places more likely to be drug trafficking corridors or terrorist targets.