Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Plainfield gets $2.4 million worth of military surplus equipment

The Passaic County Sheriff's Office raised eyebrows
when it acquired an armored personnel carrier.
(Image, Bergen Record)

Plainfield has received more than $2.4 million worth of surplus military equipment, according to a document recently released by the NJ Attorney General's office.

The information was made public as a result of pressure from State Sen. Nia Gill of Montclair. Gill has been a critic of the acquisition by local police of such things as armored vehicles and assault weapons, saying the equipment 'is more appropriate for a war zone than in community policing' (see Ledger story here).

The Ledger charted 1033-program assault weapons.
(Not shown is Dunellen, with two, the nearest to Plainfield.)

In New Jersey, eyebrows were raised when the Passaic County Sheriff acquired an armored personnel carrier, and a furor over similar plans by the Bergen County sheriff resulted in withdrawal of that request.

While media reports tend to sensationalize the equipment distributed by the program, the Plainfield inventory shows quite a different picture.

Far from loading up on war zone gear, Plainfield's requisitions have focused on diesel generators, trucks and trailers and communications equipment.

The gear is donated or transferred from military surplus by a Department of Defense program known as the Defense Logistics Agency 1033 Program (see website here). Little noted or discussed is a requirement that certain equipment is to be returned to the agency after use -- my guess is that condition is largely overlooked.

The equipment is desirable not only because it is free or low-cost, but because equipment built to military specifications is ruggedized in a way that consumer products of the same sort are not -- meaning the gear will stand up to rough use over a longer period of time, an important consideration.

Since so much attention has been focused recently on the program -- and problems with the DLA keeping track of weapons and armored vehicles -- President Obama has ordered a top-to-bottom review and is proposing that future acquisitions by local police departments be made only with the consent of the local governing body.

I have extracted the Plainfield data from the AG's complete list and posted it online (see here); the complete New Jersey file is available online for download as an Excel file here.

Plainfield received hundreds of items -- everything from nine iPads to eighteen diesel generator sets. A total of sixteen trucks includes two dump trucks.

The most significant single item is listed as a 'semi-trailer mounted electronic shop' valued at $204,826.

The least valued items are two 'laundry, dry cleaning equipment' thingies valued at $1.00 apiece.

A burning question is whether the DLA will be expecting those back after use.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Underwear and Nightwear for men.
I want a full investigation on this Dan
Why did they get them
Why no female underwear and nightwear.

Anonymous said...

Great job Plainfield PD. You never know when we might have another Storm or riot and we will be glad that our Police Dept is better equipped

Anonymous said...

Im sure the undies will come in handy

Anonymous said...

Hey Dano
Your blog isn't the same anymore looks like you toned it down by only posting selected comments. Makes me not want to read it anymore.

Anonymous said...

I heard that The Police Department got a helicopter and a troop carrier

Dan said...

Hey 12:28 PM -- you jokin'? You read the list, right?

Anonymous said...

Yes I read the list but I was told that they got a helicopter and troop carrier from one of the guys at the pd

Dan said...

10:39 AM -- I hear you but doubt it; the list is from the Attorney General and is supposed to be complete. And that would certainly have made Plainfield THE headline of all the stories in the paper -- but we never even got a mention....

Carol said...

To: 12:23 PM
I agree. Dan, you have been deleting my comments as well. I've asked questions in the past that seem to gone unanswered.