Helicopters, rifles, tools, clothes, medical supplies, soccer balls and a coffee maker -all are on the most recent Office of Emergency Services' list of military surplus in the city or county of Sacramento. Combined, the county sheriff and city police departments have 611 M-16 rifles, three Humvees and eleven helicopters, though most of the helicopters are used for parts for the three that fly.
Sacramento County has more than $11 million in surplus military equipment and other items with an estimated shelf-life of a year. There are at least 1,018 items that include 288 M-16 rifles.
Sacramento police have more than $600,000 worth of old military gear -including three helicopters. The department says it has eight grenade launchers that it uses for tear gas.
Both have an armored vehicle. Michelle Gigante is a sergeant with the Sacramento Police Department. She says the Peacekeeper is deployed between 70-and-130 times each year.
"Our tactical unit uses that constantly, whether it's for training, working with units out on the street to get people from surrounding areas where there might be a barricaded subject to get them to safety," says Gigante." We train constantly for officer down scenarios, for getting officers closer to a situation where there might be an armed subject."
The sheriff's department has an armored unit called a bearcat. The S.W.A.T. team used the bearcat during the Arden Way standoff in 2010.
Sergeant Jim Schaefers runs the surplus acquisition program at the sheriff's department. About 70-percent of the items are tools.
"The little stuff would be items such as duct tape. We use a lot of duct tape. We get a lot of work tools, shovels, hand tools, small stuff that would make every day work -you know- the nicety items such as little cut-off tools, safety equipment."
Schaefers says the department must prove a need for each item it requests.
"We'll go out and look at items, generally in person over at the Tracy DLA -defense logistical place. From there, we go, 'Do we have an actual need for it?' We request it through Cal OES. Cal OES will say 'Yes, they have a valid need for it.' Then they send it up to Battle Creek Michigan and the folkds at the LESO (Law Enforcement Support Office) say 'Yes they have a valid need for it' and they approve it."
Both departments say they don't stockpile items or acquire vehicles they don't need -like the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected -MRAP- unit that has been acquired by many agencies across the country. The Humvees that the two agencies own are used in parades.
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