Cops Have So Much Extra Military Gear They’re Giving It Away To Ukraine Freedom Fighters
from the give-it-away-give-it-away-give-it-away-now dept
Cops love military gear. For years, they’ve cultivated a mindset that pits them against the public in a war against crime — a “war” that justifies any collateral damage to the public and its trust in its protectors. The federal government has embraced this combative stance, handing out excess military gear to law enforcement agencies, provided they’re willing to say things about “terrorism” or “war on drugs.”
This transfer of military power costs nearly nothing (if you don’t count the public’s trust… and really, nobody in law enforcement thinks that’s worth tabulating). If you’ve got a self-proclaimed war on your hands, the only solution is war gear. And it’s all free — “free” as in “taxpayers’ lunches” and “from accountability.” US war machines march on, overly-outfitted by US military surplus efforts that give small town agencies a chance to play God of War on their home turf.
Now that the Russian government has turned seemingly the entire world against it, US police agencies are pitching in to help war efforts that don’t involve raiding the wrong address to recover minimal amounts of marijuana. Ukraine’s government has been asking for help and cops are stepping up to contribute. If you’ve already obtained it for free and found it’s far more than is actually needed to engage in local law enforcement efforts, why not give it to an entity far more deserving of US military largesse?
Law enforcement agencies in several states have all announced in recent days that they’re donating dozens of pieces of body armor, such as ballistic helmets and vests. Some of the departments and their respective local partners—one of which is a top defense contractor with U.S. and Ukrainian government contracts—say the donations will be distributed to Ukrainian citizens under siege by the Russian military.
Please hold your applause. Forever.
These aren’t agencies sacrificing gear needed by their own officers for the greater good. These are agencies giving away excess military gear they don’t actually need but were able to acquire because oversight of this Defense Department program is almost nonexistent. And, in some cases, what’s being given away might be useless, if not actually dangerous.
The Vice report quotes the Colorado Department of Safety, which states the 80 sets of body armor and 750 helmets being sent to Ukraine are “beyond life cycle.” Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, donations include bulletproof vests that are “no longer under warranty.” It’s the law enforcement equivalent of asking the poor to get by on donated cans of pumpkin pie filling and lima beans. Sure, the bags weigh a lot, but what purpose do the donations serve?
In other cases, agencies are donating military uniforms, which are slightly more useful in combat situations (and have no expiration date) but raise questions as to why law enforcement agencies have them in the first place. They’re not members of the US military. So why are they able — with the DoD’s blessing — to dress like they are?
While it’s true this military surplus will probably be both appreciated and somewhat useful, the donations raise even more questions about the Defense Department’s 1033 program and the seemingly-excessive amount of military gear police departments can acquire with little to no effort or justification.
And there’s no oversight of this transfer of military equipment, despite the fact it’s being handled by a federal contractor. No one appears to know whether this is legal or not and the Defense Department has flatly stated it has neither asked nor encouraged law enforcement agencies to redistribute goods acquired through its 1033 program.
That vendor is a Sarasota-based Global Ordnance, a defense contractor and commercial arms and equipment distributor, whose sales reached nearly $200 million in 2020. Along with its subsidiary Global Military Products (GMP), the company has won at least a half-billion dollars in Defense Department contracts over the past decade, according to USAspending.gov, the Treasury Department’s government spending tracker. The company also signed a “cooperation agreement” with Ukrainian state-owned defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom last September worth up to $500 million.
Global Ordnance vice president for human resources Carrie Morales told VICE News that the equipment wasn’t requested by the Pentagon, but that the company has “a lot of people in Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe” and that the donation is part of the company’s “humanitarian efforts.”
While it’s admirable US law enforcement agencies are pitching in to help stop an authoritarian from erecting USSR v. 2.0, these charitable contributions are highlighting questions that demand answers from the Defense Department and its downstream beneficiaries. Why are cops getting so much gear that they have no problem giving it away? And why are they still in possession of so much outdated gear — something that could prove fatal for officers who think they’re protected by the best the US military has to offer? And if these contributions fail to protect Ukraine recipients, who is at fault? If Congress isn’t willing to take a closer look at this, expect “caveat emptor” to usurp accountability for these well-meaning, but possibly harmful, donations.
Filed Under: 1033 program, body armor, defense department, military gear, russia, ukraine
Comments on “Cops Have So Much Extra Military Gear They’re Giving It Away To Ukraine Freedom Fighters”
I suppose that is one way of supplying Ukraine without directly supplying Ukraine.
I have only two questions about these donations…
1) What is shipping time from e.g. Colorado to Ukraine?
2) Who will be taking delivery?
I expect the answers are, respectively:
1) too long
2) the Russians.
Bulletproof vest warranty?
So what, if the bulletproof vest fails, I get my money back?
1033 program transfers
LEA are required to keep track of all equipment issued to them. ask a certain former Maricopa County sheriff, or a former Pinal County sheriff.source: me-a former Defense Logistics Agency – Disposition Services employee.
Well, I’m sure they’re supposed to. What they actually do appears to be completely different in many cases.
Slightly used helmets and kevlar vests, while perhaps unfashionable, probably work just fine, and are not particularly outdated. What I find more interesting, from a budget standpoint, is that this means the departments acquired all new stuff, and so much such that they feel comfortable donating the yesteryear stock pile. This give away portends the currently available gear that our departments possess.
That sounds like police departments are overfunded instead of, as anti–“defund the police” politicians will insist is the case, underfunded. Imagine that~.
Bravely bold Sir Koby
Rode forth from the Internet.
He was not afraid to die,
Oh brave Sir Koby.
He was not at all afraid
To be killed in nasty ways.
Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Koby.
He was not in the least bit scared
To be mashed into a pulp.
Or to have his eyes gouged out,
And his elbows broken.
To have his kneecaps split
And his body burned away,
And his limbs all hacked and mangled
Brave Sir Koby.
His head smashed in
And his heart cut out
And his liver removed
And his bowls unplugged
And his nostrils raped
Unfashionable? We aren’t talking about acid washed jeans and jackets with shoulder pads.
I get into this argument with my mom all the time, as she seems to believe that expiration dates and how old a product is, opened or not, are nothing to pay attention to, as apparently everything just lasts forever.
Sure, some items do have a longer shelf life than what they are guaranteed for, but that is based on numerous variables. Exposure to sun, moisture, extreme temperatures, extreme dryness, plus dirt and oils that collect on the surface all affect how well any item will hold up. Kevlar vests don’t come in seasonal Pantones “it” colors
Kevlar degrades over time, especially when exposed to heat and moisture, such as when worn. IIRC, a kevlar vest worn every work day on a standard schedule must be replaced after two years.
“Slightly used helmets and kevlar vests, while perhaps unfashionable, probably work just fine, and are not particularly outdated.”
You know, if you spent as much time educating yourself as you do complaining, you’d learn a few things. For example, this is one of the first results on a Google search (I’m no expert so I don’t know the reliability of the source, but I knew this factoid already)
“What I find more interesting, from a budget standpoint, is that this means the departments acquired all new stuff, and so much such that they feel comfortable donating the yesteryear stock pile”
Yes, it is interesting that they get so much money that they can keep replacing gear that many civilian police forces in the world don’t have at all. Is this stuff used (and therefore possibly risky for people to be using in the type of active war zone they’re designed to be used in), or not used (thus giving ammunition to the idea that they should have their budgets reduced and used to fund non-military operations that are less likely to harm the American public)
I wonder how much of this gear has already found it’s way to militias, free of charge.
I have one better for these police units. Donate some of your officers to Ukraine. The ones intent on killing.
They're not sending their best...
With regards to “officers who think they’re protected by the best the US military has to offer” I’d like to respond with this quote from John Scalzi:
“There has never been a military in the entire history of the human race that has gone to war equipped with more than the least that it needs to fight its enemy.”
I won’t even use surplus gear for camping, let alone protecting myself from a bullet. I know how bad the crap we had was when I was in, and now it’s not just crap, it’s expired crap. Cops shouldn’t want it in the first place, shouldn’t have it in the second, and damn sure shouldn’t be inflicting it on people actually in a war.
Because there is no way they are donating this gear so that they can justify getting more from the war machine stockpile.
I can kinda understand the military hardware for some departments on the Mexico border maybe.
But for the rest of the country are US police forces regularly coming under small arms fire on their patrol from insurgents? Is there a war going on in America that the media ignores?
See, this goes to show how useful such equipment is to the police to resist an invasion such as Ukraine is going through now. I’m sure US police forces are hoarding it for when Canada decides to invade again.
Speculation bordering on conspiracy theory...
This makes me wonder if the “flaws” in the programs that feed mil surplus to the police are there by design to enable this kind of backdoor feed. But thinking a little harder, probably not. If there isn’t some level of federal control over this, I could see local police departments picking and choosing foreign political factions to arm with surplus equipment. Or even worse, domestic factions.