Loudon County law enforcement disputes military surplus report
LOUDON CO., Tenn. (WVLT)- More than $121 million worth of military surplus has been given to law enforcement in Tennessee.
A recent report says Loudon County got more than 9 million of that.
But officials in the county say that's not true.
Daryl Smith, Loudon County EMA Director, said he called the state when he saw the report.
"They indicated that they thought that was a misprint," he tells Local 8 News.
It relates to a $5 million dollar Humvee that originally had a communication system on it.
"The originally accusation cost on paper is 5 million dollars but, it's a Humvee with a box on the back and it's an empty box with nothing it in....it's probably more like 50,000 dollars than 5 million," says Smith.
Nationally, concerns were raised over how police in Missouri handled riots in Ferguson.
While some agencies do have weapons, Loudon County says they only apply for defensive equipment.
"The kind of items we have range from humvees to dump drunks, trailers generators and tents. We have utility vans," he says.
The equipment is used for everything from security at events to cleaning up messes. Just like the one left behind by a storm in Philadelphia.
The nation wide the surplus includes weapons, boats and even helicopters.
The Knox County Sheriff's Office has one of those helicopters valued between 190- 922 thousand dollars.
It's a program that started in the 90's called the 1033, it was an act passed by Congress that allows law enforcement to acquire property from the military for no cost.
"We have to apply, we find items online that are usable in our community. So, then we have to put down a narrative to explain what our intent is for that property."
Then it comes on a first come first serve basis, down to the second each agency applies.
"You have to travel to where it's at, that's the only expense is the diesel fuel to pick it up."
President Obama has issued a review on this program after what happened in Ferguson.
Focusing on making sure these agencies have proper training to use the equipment.
Smith says he believes the program is useful to law enforcement.