Law Enforcement Agencies Unable To Return Military Vehicles
Defense Department not interested in warehousing unused equipment
Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
They're not alone. Over 6,000 pieces of hardware distributed via the Defense Department program have been returned, with hundreds of agencies clamoring to return more, according to Mother Jones.
Applications for returns became so overwhelming that the Pentagon temporarily suspended the website that local agencies used to hand back the equipment. The site is slated to reopen October 1, but many will still find returning the items difficult.
While the Defense Department says it's happy to take back the vehicles and other equipment, provided the correct paper work is completed, the experience of law enforcement agencies is very different. Many report that their inquires to return their vehicles go unanswered.
Rob Davis, mayor of Davis, California, told Mother Jones that the Defense Department is using small municipalities as free storage for military vehicles.
"They're dumping these vehicles on us and saying, 'Hey, these are still ours, but you have to maintain them for us,'" Davis told Mother Jones.
Police are responsible for shipping and maintaining the equipment. Since the MRAPs are still technically owned by the Pentagon, law enforcement is unable to sell the unwanted vehicles. The MRAPs either sit with the original owners or the Defense Department makes returned military equipment available to other agencies -- a policy which simply shifts the problem of useless MRAPs to another town or state. San Diego's MRAPs arrived stripped of weapons and several instruments, indicating it was used by another police agency at some point.
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