Set WeatherNew Jersey police departments received $11.8 million of surplus military equipment since 2018 including two heavily armored vehicles under a Pentagon program that is facing renewed scrutiny amid calls for police reform, federal records show.In Washington Township, Gloucester County, police tapped military hand me downs last year to acquire a mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle that was designed more for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than the streets of wholesale jerseys from china a sprawling suburban South Jersey community.So did the city of Passaic, which also received an MRAP, as the mammoth armored vehicles are typically called.Those were among thousands of pieces of castoff military equipment that New Jersey police departments got over the past 2 years from a longtime Defense Department program that provides excess military gear to them for free, other than the cost of shipping and maintenance.The program sent more than 100 vehicles to local departments, ranging from Humvees and cargo trucks to ATVs, fork lifts and motorized carts. It provided tactical gear that included 242 night vision goggles, viewers and other illumination devices, and 379 gun sights including high tech laser, thermal and holographic sights.Supporters call the federal Law Enforcement Support Office program a boon for local taxpayers and public safety, saying it has distributed $7.4 billion in needed equipment nationwide since its inception in the 1990s.They say most of the gear looks more like the aisles of Office Depot or Lowe’s than the corridors of Fallujah: Furniture, vacuums, exercise equipment and power tools ranked among the scores of mundane items that New Jersey departments recently received.But critics charge the program has contributed to the militarization of local police departments, an issue that has captured the national conversation following protests after the May death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. The protests have spurred demands for changes in the way police interact with their communities, including calls for resources to be shifted from law enforcement to the social services network.Washington Township and Passaic are among 18 New Jersey police departments that have received mine resistant vehicles since 2013, according to the federal Law Enforcement Support Office, which runs the surplus program.”These weapons and this military equipment is better served for a war zone and not policing,” said state Sen.
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