Iowa Police Departments' Use of Military Gear

Aug 28, 2014

Recent clashes between police and civilians in Ferguson, Missouri have led local community members to consider the military-style equipment given to local police departments.

A federal program through the Department of Defense has transferred more than $4.3 billion worth of military gear to law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Program 1033 provides surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies at the state and county level.

In Storm Lake, Ia., the police department has received everything from binoculars to mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, also known as MRAP’s, and grenade launchers as part of the used-military equipment program.

Mark Prosser, Public Safety Director and Police Chief in Storm Lake, says it’s helpful to get equipment for free or at a reduced cost. During this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with Prosser; Sean Curtin, a Johnson County citizen who is concerned with the trend; and Kathryn Blake, Iowa's 1033 Program Coordinator at the Iowa Department of Public Safety.