The US military is divesting itself of 13,000 10-foot-tall, 40,000-pound, heavily-armored vehicles because they don't think they will need them in the future. No, you can't just run out and get one, because they are not going to be given to private citizens. You wouldn't be able to afford parts and maintenance anyway. The Pentagon first offered the vehicles to US allies.
Interest from foreign militaries has been tepid. But they are a hit with stateside police agencies. Almost 200 trucks have been distributed to police departments since August and requests are pending for an additional 750 trucks. The vehicles, many of which feature machine-gun turrets, are off-limits to private citizens and businesses.
Lucky recipients run from the Ohio State University campus police force to Florence County, S.C., which replaced an armored vehicle from the 1970s that the sheriff department's SWAT team had used for about 15 years. A new armored truck would have cost at least $188,000.
"The price was right because it was free and it fit with what we need it to do," says sheriff's Capt. John Crouse. "It stops bullets. It keeps you from getting shot."
Ohio State declined to comment.
You have to wonder what a campus police force intends to do with an armored truck. Or local police departments, for that matter. Law enforcements agencies where I live have more equipment than they know what to do with because of Homeland Security grants. Defense contractors that maintain the vehicles and supply parts hope that the vehicles will stay in use instead of being sent to the scrap heap. Read more about the trucks in a Wall Street Journal article at MSN.