As I posted in this article a year ago, the ongoing militarization of America's police forces continues thanks to the Homeland Security Grant Program under FEMA. There are three interconnected grant programs under the HSGP as follows along with the fiscal year 2015 funding allotment:
1.) State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) - $402 million
2.) Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) - $587 million
3.) Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) - $55 million
As well, there is the 1033 Program, a law that allows the transfer of excess Department of Defense property to local law enforcement agencies. Since its inception in 1997, more than $5.4 billion worth of DoD property has been transferred to a police department near you, including $980 million worth of materiel in 2014 alone. The property transferred includes just about everything from firearms to vehicles to office equipment with about 5 percent of the total consisting of weapons and less than 1 percent consisting of tactical vehicles, the main subject of this posting.
Now, let's take a look at some of the police forces across the United States that have requested an armoured vehicle, an absolute necessity in this time of unprecedented social unrest (insert sarcasm here).
1.) Ohio State University Police Division:
After all, Ohio State University has a history of riots that were even larger than the infamous Kent State riots that led to the killing of 4 unarmed students. Mind you, that was way back in April and May of 1970 but one can never be too prepared for the inevitable. Actually, perhaps it was a good thing that both OSU and Kent State didn't have access to tactical vehicles back then. OSU is requesting 2 non-tracked armoured vehicles that will be "...used to support tactical ops and critical incidents.".
2.) Spokane County, Washington:
Apparently, the two armoured vehicles requested are to replace an aging 1979 Dodge armoured personnel carrier.
3.) Texarkana Police Department, Texas:
This vehicle is being requested because the police agency is "located in a HIDTA" (high intensity drug trafficking area). HIDTA was established in 1988 to assist Federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions of the U.S. Currently, there are 28 HIDTA programs which included 17.2 percent of all counties in the United States and around 60 percent of the U.S. population as shown on this map:
4.) Tennessee Department of Safety - Highway Patrol:
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is requesting 2 armoured vehicles of the Bearcat type and currently has a Marine light armoured vehicle which looks similar to this:
I would suggest that my readers be extremely cautious that they don't disobey any traffic regulations in Tennessee.
5.) Nashville International Airport Police Department:
This police department is justifying their request by stating that the requested MRAP could be used by both the bomb squad and the SWAT team for "...situations where extra protection is needed such as IEDs, VBIEDs (a fancy acronym for car bombs), officer reduce situations or when approaching hostage situations on the airfield with no other cover available and approaching hostage situations...".
In closing, let's look at a two of the requested vehicles:
1.) MRAP Cougar: MRAP stands for mine resistant ambush protected vehicle. Here is the product sheet for a 6X6 Cougar produced by General Dynamics:
Here is a video showing the Cougar 6X6 in action:
2.) M-ATV Type 4: This lighter weight MRAP was designed for combat activities in Afghanistan. These M-ATVs are produced by Oshkosh at their manufacturing facilities in Oshkosh, WI and the first vehicles were delivered in July 2009. So far, 8722 M-ATVs were delivered to the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Air Force.
Here is a page from the brochure for the Oshkosh M-ATV:
Here is a video from Oshkosh showing the M-ATV in action:
If you are interested, you can go through the entire listing of 466 police departments throughout the United States to see if a police department near you has requested added protection from the general public. It is no wonder that it is increasingly appearing as though it is an "us" against "them" when America's police forces deal with the general public who is paying and has paid for this equipment with their tax dollars.