NC won't say which agencies received surplus military gear
North Carolina officials say they won't release specifics about which law enforcement agencies received military equipment under a controversial federal surplus program.Posted — Updated
The county-by-county information does not specify which agencies actually received this equipment.
"Providing that information would be providing a lot of information to people who would use it to the detriment of our law enforcement professionals and potentially the public," Walker said in an email. "Simply put, it would be like providing criminals a blueprint on how to harm law enforcement or get around their security tactics when trying to prevent crime and/or a serious event."
Walker did not respond to follow-up questions on how details of the voluntary federal program would qualify as "drawings of public buildings," "specific tactics" or "specific security or emergency procedures" defined in the law.
Mike Tadych, a Raleigh attorney who represents media organizations including WRAL News, said he doesn't see how the security exemption would apply in this case.
"Somebody knowing what equipment you got for free from the federal government does not divulge plans on how to respond to terrorist activity," Tadych said.
The 1033 program has drawn fire from critics in the wake of the police response to protesters in Ferguson, Mo. For days, officers in the St. Louis suburb donned camouflage and body armor, fired tear gas and aimed rifles at residents who gathered in the streets after the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police on Aug. 9.
Without agency-level data on the $4 billion worth of equipment awarded to law enforcement agencies across the country, it can be hard for outside observers to track.
DPS data through August shows Wake County, for example, received seven helicopters, two grenade launchers and 85 rifles. But that gear may have ended up with any state or local agency with field offices in the county.
In her email, Walker referenced several incidents where "public safety professionals were shockingly under-equipped to respond," including shootouts with heavily armed bank robbers in Norco, Calif., in 1980, Miami in 1986 and North Hollywood in 1997.
Explore the state's 1033 data
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