Ingham, Eaton, Clinton counties get lots of free military stuff
Originally posted August 25, 2014; updated August 27
Note: The earlier version of this story indicated that counties had to pay for the surplus military goods. I was wrong. It is free.
The recent troubles in Ferguson, Missouri have drawn attention to the militarization of local police forces. According to an August 17 Detroit Free Press story, they've been able to load up on surplus armament and equipment through a Department of Defense program - something like a gigantic garage sale, only everything is free (compliments of U.S. taxpayers). At this site, you can get a list of the stuff your county has received since the program began in 2006, along with what it would have cost had it not be donated.
With some help from someone a little more technically adept than I am, I've copied the data from the website and pasted it into an Excel spreadsheet, where I can calculate totals and sort the data into interesting sequences. For each county listed below, I have 4 sequences of data: item name, unit value, total value and ship date. Before I created the first 3 sequences, I consolidated items where the item name and cost were the same. For example, Ingham had fifty-three 5.56 millimeter rifles listed separately at $499 per unit, total value for each: $499. I deleted all but one and changed the quantity from 1 to 53. Excel recalculated the total value as $26,447. For the "ship date" sequence, I did no consolidating.
In addition to Ingham, Eaton and Clinton, I've done Barry, whose Barry Township police force has been in the news, and Allegan, where my brother-in-law is a county commissioner. Here they are, along with the total value of goods received since 2006. Click county name for detail:
Now some observations:
Now some questions:
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