NJ Police Build Up Arsenals with Surplus Combat Weapons and Military Gear

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As President Obama announces a national task force on police militarization, NJTV Christie Duffy reports on the details of military surplus weapons given to New Jersey police departments. The report breaks down granted military supplies by municipality, with information provided by NJ state Senator Nia Gill after media requests for it denied. “Most of these weapons are more suited for a war zone than community policing,” said Gill.

Some of the gear reportedly distributed to local law enforcement:

M14 and M16 semi automatic rifles were used by soldiers in Iraq. Now nearly 1,000 of them have been shipped to police arsenals across New Jersey. Jersey City has received by far the most. They got 170 free military grade rifles. Their arsenal now represents nearly all the tactical gear shipped to Hudson County.

But it’s not just urban centers. Mount Olive Township in western Morris County has a force of 45 sworn officers and now they’ve got 26 M16 and M14 military rifles. That’s the second biggest stockpile in the state received from the federal program. Paterson, Belleville, West New York, Stafford, Jackson, Elizabeth and Lakewood all received 20 or more of the semiautomatics.

And it’s not just municipal police. The Passaic County prosecutor and sheriff also got some. The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife got 16 of them.

Full report with video from NJTV News.

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About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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