JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Law enforcement across the country and on the First Coast for the past ten years has been on the receiving end of surplus military gear including helicopters, assault weapons and night vision equipment.
The program has come under scrutiny following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri where teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer. The incident earlier this month triggered rioting and the presence of the National Guard to restore order.
Local law enforcement agencies have received surplus military gear after making decisions on what they wanted or needed.
In St. Johns County, for example, the departments helicopter is surplus and is still in use.
"We got our helicopter years ago for $500. You know it is common sense," said Sheriff David Shoar who noted the acquisition made sense since it saved taxpayers money.
In Clay County the sheriff's office has two Humvees that were acquired years ago as surplus and are still in use for search operations and flooding.
Duval County, according to a defense department web site, has received 26 assault rifles, two helicopters and night vision gear. Sheriff John Rutherford on Wednesday he is prepared to talk about the federal program and its application to local law enforcement.
Sheriff Shoar noted that most of the surplus is old, but in some situations can fill gaps and save taxpayers money.
"We don't need tanks, we don't need aircraft carrier, obviously we are not going to get those things," said Shoar.