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Law Enforcement Agencies in Minnesota Have Acquired Millions of Dollars in Military Equipment

Riot GearIn recent years, images have proliferated in the media of American law enforcement intervening in protests – donning helmets, toting assault rifles, and marching alongside armored vehicles. While many Americans have been shocked by such displays, the militarization of police departments across the country is nothing new.

In the 1990s, an era of high crime marked by an escalation of the war on drugs in cities across the country, Congress authorized the National Defense Authorization Act, also known as the 1033 Program. Under the NDAA, state and local law enforcement agencies could procure excess military weapons and equipment from the Department of Defense.

Since the program’s inception, the DOD has transferred $7.6 billion in military equipment to law enforcement agencies across the country. And while law enforcement agencies do not pay for this equipment, they are responsible for costs related to shipping, maintenance, and storage. In recent years, every state except Hawaii has used the program to acquire excess military weapons and equipment.

According to data from the Defense Logistics Agency, 111 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota acquired surplus military equipment between 2010 and the first quarter of 2023. To better reflect increasing militarization of American law enforcement, items determined by the DOD to present a “low risk” when released from federal control were not included in our analysis. Such items include tents, forklifts, firearm slings, picnic tables, and boots.

The combined value of this equipment, as measured by the original price paid by the military, totals $54,888,651 – the 10th most among the 49 participating states. The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office received 12.1% of this equipment, as measured by its monetary value, the most of any law enforcement agency in the state.

Rank State Total value of military equipment acquired from 2010-2023 Q1 ($) Law enforcement agencies receiving military equipment
1 Texas 129,382,429 324
2 California 109,660,198 154
3 Tennessee 107,079,868 197
4 Florida 74,563,019 137
5 South Carolina 74,094,837 135
6 Alabama 70,698,539 177
7 Georgia 61,462,743 201
8 Arizona 56,326,770 75
9 Ohio 56,316,007 233
10 Minnesota 54,888,651 111
11 Michigan 49,981,067 201
12 New Jersey 45,460,066 184
13 North Carolina 45,455,133 111
14 Wisconsin 41,176,131 106
15 Illinois 40,028,909 235
16 New York 38,730,990 110
17 Washington 37,195,384 86
18 Indiana 35,940,902 141
19 Missouri 34,513,792 173
20 Kentucky 32,495,911 140
21 Arkansas 30,891,646 95
22 Colorado 28,770,882 103
23 Oklahoma 28,268,275 120
24 Louisiana 24,538,565 51
25 Virginia 23,784,984 84
26 Pennsylvania 21,863,862 98
27 Oregon 19,839,449 32
28 Nevada 19,582,376 19
29 Mississippi 17,536,439 44
30 New Mexico 17,076,269 38
31 West Virginia 15,865,145 34
32 North Dakota 15,580,697 54
33 Connecticut 14,845,957 49
34 Utah 13,604,166 36
35 Iowa 12,859,833 53
36 Idaho 11,265,320 46
37 Nebraska 9,472,021 23
38 Maine 7,804,422 45
39 Massachusetts 7,482,579 53
40 South Dakota 7,398,598 37
41 Maryland 5,797,499 45
42 Montana 4,836,091 22
43 Kansas 4,781,247 48
44 Wyoming 4,006,141 15
45 New Hampshire 3,645,828 27
46 Alaska 1,705,594 3
47 Rhode Island 1,586,284 13
48 Delaware 991,597 11
49 Vermont 372,661 6
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