- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

RENO, Nev. (AP) - School police departments across the country have taken advantage of free military surplus gear, stocking up on mine resistant armored vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles.

At least 26 school districts including Washoe County’s have participated in the Pentagon’s surplus program.

The program isn’t new but has come under scrutiny after police responded to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, last month with tear gas, armored military trucks and riot gear.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is among several that are giving some of the equipment back amid increased criticism of the militarization of school police. It plans to return three grenade launchers.

The Washoe County School District has received eight M16 semi-automatic rifles. District spokeswoman Victoria Campbell says there are no immediate plans to give any back.

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