Law enforcement in Arizona these days resembles a military. At least, that’s what its weapons collection would imply.
A new ACLU report on the militarization of America’s police makes it clear Arizona’s law enforcement is putting together quite the weapons collection through the Department of Defence’s 1033 program, which transfers military-grade weapons to local cops.
Here is the list of Arizona’s military gear outlined in the ACLU report:
- 32 bomb suits
- 704 units of night vision equipment, such as goggles
- 1034 guns, 712 of which are rifles
- 42 forced entry tools, such as battering rams
- 830 units of surveillance and reconnaissance equipment
- 13,409 personal protective equipment and/or uniforms
- 120 utility trucks
- 64 armoured vehicles
- 4 GPS devices
- 17 helicopters
- 21,211 other types of military equipment
One of the largest collections of military-grade gear belongs to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which has 120 assault rifles, five armoured vehicles, and 10 helicopters, according to the ACLU report. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which has seen its fair share of controversy for the racial profiling of Hispanics, even has a .50 calibre machine gun that can blast through buildings, according to the ACLU.
In addition, a two-year investigation by the Arizona Republic revealed that another Arizona Sheriff’s Office, Pinal County, gave millions of dollars’ worth of military equipment to non-law enforcement agencies and planned to auction off some of its arsenal to raise revenue for itself.
Most of the military equipment in Arizona was ostensibly sent there to protect the border, but the ACLU says the state’s cops have more heavy-duty equipment than they need.
“The bottom line is that Arizona law enforcement agencies at and well beyond the actual border have become unnecessarily and dangerously militarized,” the ACLU report said. “Arizona law enforcement, designed to serve and protect communities, is instead equipped to wage a war.”
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