- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GREENCASTLE, Ind. (AP) - FBI agents who searched the officers of a western Indiana sheriff’s department this week were looking for records related to its participation in a military surplus equipment program, the department’s chief deputy says.

Putnam County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Tom Helmer said the FBI agents who removed boxes of records Monday from the department’s office in Greencastle, about 40 miles west of Indianapolis, took away only records related to the military equipment program.

“It’s like an audit. They just took records from that,” Helmer told the Tribune-Star (https://bit.ly/1wFnzj1 ).

The sheriff’s department has received more than $2.4 million in equipment, including vehicles, heavy equipment and rifles through the program, which provides state and local police agencies with surplus military equipment at no cost to local taxpayers.

That equipment is intended for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations and to improve officers’ safety.

Helmer said Putnam County reserve deputy David Allison handles the department’s participation in that program.

Neighbors told Indianapolis-area media that Allison’s Morgan County residence was also searched Monday by federal agents.

A message seeking comment from Allison was left Wednesday with the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department, the Morgan County department where Allison is also fire chief.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Indianapolis confirmed Monday that federal agents were at the sheriff’s department and at a Morgan County location on a related matter, but declined to reveal the focus of the investigation.

Helmer said the surplus military equipment has come in handy for the sheriff’s department, which could not have afforded to purchase the equipment otherwise.

“If it’s surplus equipment and they’re gonna get rid of it, we’re gonna use it,” Helmer said.


Information from: Tribune-Star, https://www.tribstar.com

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