USF Police acquiring military equipment

National trend by local agencies

The recent police response to demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., have highlighted the number of military vehicles and equipment local law enforcement agencies have acquired from the federal government.

University of South Florida Police is among the agencies that have bought items at pennies on the dollar as part of a program to recycle unwanted or older equipment no longer needed by the military.

Some of the items USF Police has purchased include a humvee, army assault rifles and an armored car.

"It's for the purpose of making them safer," said Chris Daniel, USF assistant police chief. "You won't see those officers walking around with those rifles slung over their shoulders."

The program isn't popular with some students. USF junior Steve Berens said he doesn't like the message it sends on campus.

"To have that kind of equipment is kind of threatening. It's overstepping their bounds," Berens said.

Kantesha Theodore, a USF Junior, said as long as the officers don't openly carry around heavy grade weapons she's OK with the concept.

"Most of the time it's pretty calm around here," Theodore said. "I don't think we're going to need rifles or grenade launchers at any time soon."

Still, many students appreciate having extra security in case of an emergency like what happened during the Virginia Tech massacre.

Mona Vacchani, a USF freshman, said she would rather have the firepower than not during a crisis.

"Bomb threat or terrorist attack, we totally need those weapons," Vacchani said.

To look up what kind of military equipment is being transferred to your local agency, the Detroit Free Press newspaper has created a database that allows you to find it by county. View that database here.

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