The Defense Department program accused of fueling the militarization of local law enforcement is stirring controversy again, this time for providing equipment and weapons to school police, reports the Washington Post. Law enforcement agencies affiliated with at least 120 schools, colleges and universities have received gear through the program. The gear included at least five grenade launchers, hundreds of rifles and eight mine-resistant vehicles. (Los Angeles schools, one of the biggest beneficiaries, announced it would return three grenade launchers but keep dozens of rifles and an armored vehicle.)
In some cases, the equipment has been altered and its use limited to such events as campus shootings and natural disasters. But the practice of transferring weapons to schools is drawing criticism. In a letter this week, Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and others called on the federal government to stop the transfer of weapons to school police and provide a comprehensive accounting of all equipment provided to school districts nationwide.