Feds Give Utah Police Grenade Launchers, Armored Vehicles, & Riot Gear

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January 25, 2014 9:32am PST

Hostage takers and other would be criminals may think twice before contending with the Utah Highway Patrol who was the recipient of a brand new mine resistant ambush protected vehicle.

The UHP received this behemoth vehicle as part of the Pentagon’s Excess Property 1033 Program according to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune.

It has also been revealed that over 2,240 pieces of military equipment have been sent to Utah since 2009. All of the heavy-duty equipment is valued at about $3 million. Utah police have already received about 1,230 rifles, four grenade launchers and 17 .45 caliber pistols.

Many civil libertarians are becoming increasingly concerned about the Pentagon bulking up state law enforcement for the prospects of civil unrest. Several Utah Sheriffs have defended the aquisition of military grade equipment.

Wasatch County Sheriff Todd Bonner said, “Your bad guy, he’s always out there training, looking for the biggest baddest thing.” Bonner is presumably making the case for his deputies needing to stay one step ahead at all times.

Iron County also received a MRAP vehicle. It’s Sheriff, Mark Gower said, “I look out for the rights of my deputies.” He went on to say, “They have the right to be protected in the dangerous work they do.”

But the idea of UHP and Iron County’s Sheriff’s office owning an MRAP vehicle that – at one time – could be commonly seen roaming the streets of war torn Irag, may be more than one step ahead.

The report from the Salt Lake Tribune cited opposition from ACLU Senior Counsel, Kara Dansky who said, “When police use miliatry-style tactics and weapons to enter people’s homes, what we’ve seen is violence ensue.” She was making the case that when the circumstance doesn’t require the extra force, the extra force is likely to only cause more violence.

The ACLU is currently undergoing an analysis of how decisions are made with the Pentagon’s 1033 programs and how equipment is allocated to police departments.

As of now, the new MRAP vehicles are being fitted with police decals as well as police lights and sirens.

What are your thoughts on these newest aquisitions? Do you think state and local police should have military-grade equipment like this? Let us know in he comments section below or shoot us a tweet.

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