- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) - A police chief in southern Indiana plans to return four Humvee vehicles that his department received as military surplus this year from the Department of Defense.

New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey says the vehicles were acquired by his predecessor as chief for use in bad weather, but they’ve never been used.

“We’ve found that for what we do, and with our strategy, they just don’t fit into the police department,” Bailey told the News and Tribune (https://bit.ly/1qpvUGt ).

The four Humvees were acquired at no cost by the city just north of Louisville, Kentucky, under a Pentagon program that equips local law enforcement agencies with surplus military weapons.

The police department is not allowed to sell the vehicles and will be working to return the vehicles to the military, Bailey said.

Pentagon officials have said they are pursuing changes to the program after it came under scrutiny in August following clashes between protesters and heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Amid criticism of the militarization of municipal police departments, the White House has since ordered a review of the Pentagon’s 1033 program - a congressionally authorized initiative that provides surplus weapons, gear and other equipment to thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country - and similar programs.

The sheriff’s department in Clark County, which includes New Albany, acquired several rifles through the 1033 program and federal surpluses as well as a concrete mixer and thousands of dollars in tools and equipment over the years, according to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and Jeffersonville Police Department, in the county just east of New Albany, have also acquired shotguns and rifles through the program. The Jeffersonville department received three surplus utility vehicles in 2005, according to the federal agency.


Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., https://www.newsandtribune.com

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