Audit: NM agencies have $10M in military gear

Created: 08/26/2014 7:55 AM
By: RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Records show a U.S. Defense Department program which loans local law enforcement agencies surplus military gear has sent $10.2 million worth of weapons, helicopters and armored vehicles to New Mexico.

Documents obtained by public records requests from The Associated Press show the Defense Department's "1033 program" has sent Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to small agencies like Clovis police and New Mexico State University Police.

Meanwhile, larger agencies like the Albuquerque Police Department have received weapons, utility trucks and mine-resistant vehicles.

The federal program is one of many under review by the White House in the aftermath of the police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Law enforcement agencies in New Mexico said the extra military gear helps them in crisis situation.

But critics say the equipment is contributing to the unnecessary militarization of local police.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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