– Local school districts got military gear from Pentagon (CBC, Sep 26, 2014):
A CBS News review shows campus police across the country have received millions of dollars worth of military gear from the Pentagon.
Now, there are calls to halt those transfers, even though some agencies say the weapons are necessary.
CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports from the University of Texas, Arlington, that the University of Texas System’s police protect more than a dozen campuses and 330,000 people across the state.
The director of police said those additional weapons and gear are necessary, given the type of emergencies that can happen.
When University of Texas police responded to a bomb threat in 2012, they arrived in a Humvee. It’s one of three large military vehicles the university’s police system has acquired from the Department of Defense. They recently received a mine-resistant vehicle, which was designed to withstand roadside bombs on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The turret has been removed, so there’s no weapons systems associated with it,” University of Texas System Director of Police Michael Heidingsfield said.
He says its purpose is to protect the occupants and save lives.
“That vehicle will be used solely in response to an active shooter or armed intruder events,” Heidingsfield said. “Or perhaps in anticipation of a major natural catastrophic event.”
The university’s police department is one of at least 125 school law enforcement agencies in 25 states that have received military gear free of charge from the Department of Defense. That includes police departments for 23 kindergarten-through-12 school districts and 102 colleges and universities.
The DOD program came under scrutiny in August when police responded to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, with tanks, combat gear and assault rifles – some of which had come from the Pentagon.
A CBS News review of available public data from more than 30 states found that law enforcement agencies affiliated with educational institutions have obtained more than $13 million worth of military gear from the program. Among the items received: 145 pistols, 780 rifles and nine of the mine resistant vehicles.