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Taxpayers foot the bill for ‘free’ military gear

In a New York Times article that appeared in The News on June 9, Chris Cowan, a spokesman for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina, said an armored vehicle with a mounted .50-caliber gun, ironically named “the Peacemaker,” is a “conversation starter” at local schools and community events.

A question for Cowan: What kind of “conversation” does one have at the end of a gun barrel?

One point left unaddressed in the article about surplus military equipment being given to police and sheriff departments under the 1033 Program – a section of the National Defense Authorization Act that permits the transfer to law enforcement agencies of military property no longer needed – is the prohibitively high cost of shipping, storage, maintenance and repairs to such “free” equipment, with local taxpayers having to foot the bill.

Doug Aerie

Buffalo