Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Military hardware interactive map

The New York Times has published an interactive map that it says shows the type and amount of military surplus hardware that's been doled out to civilian law enforcement agencies (state and local) around the country.

Check out your local county if you like.

But if you know where it is on the map, check out Brevard County, Florida. According to the map, 79 helicopters, eight airplanes, five armored vehicles, and a mine resistant vehicle have been acquired there.

Is the Brevard inventory accurate, and if so, does anyone know which agencies possess the hardware?

Brevard County includes places like Cape Canaveral, Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, and Palm Bay.

When I lived there in the 1980s, the sheriff's office was the only local law enforcement agency with a helicopter (it too was military surplus), and back then the sheriff said he didn't have the budget for a full time pilot. Back in the '80s, Brevard deputies also supplied their own firearms. I knew at least one who kept a Mini 14 in the trunk when on duty.

Update: Here's a local news story from earlier this year that explains some of Brevard's acquired helicopters were junkers used for spare parts. But the story still seem to leave a bunch of helos unexplained if the NY Times stats are accurate. I have to wonder how many little police agencies along the Space Coast now have their own chopper(s).

Update 2: Seems the Florida Division of Forestry converts military surplus helicopters to fight wildfires. And Central Florida does have a lot of swamp and wildfires.

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