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Local police departments receive surplus military equipment

By News 5 Staff, news@wcyb.com
Published On: Aug 19 2014 10:31:39 PM CDT
HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn -

Tension is still high in Ferguson, Missouri after an officer shot and killed an unarmed man Friday night, but the lasting image of police, dressed and armed like military personnel has caused an uproar nationwide about  police departments and their use of military grade weapons.

Some of the departments in our area participate in a program to receive surplus military equipment.

Local departments in our area are part of the law enforcement support office.

These police departments pay an annual fee to join. They can log on to a website and tag equipment.

After that, the equipment is free, outside of the transportation or shipping costs.

Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson  says most of the equipment they have received from military surplus are vehicles like humvees, They use the vehicles primarily during the winter months.

"They're used primarily in the winter time when there's a lot of snow on the ground or it's slick," says Lawson.  "Patrol officers use those to get to people where the cruisers normally wouldn't be able to go."

Hawkins County has also received five military rifles. Those guns are used in the tactical units, and officers must go through weapons training frequently.