State takes inventory after Pentagon suspends equipment programby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A program that supplied guns and other military equipment to civilian police agencies around the country has been suspended after questions were raised about where the items were going.
The Pentagon distributed nearly $500 million worth of equipment last year. An investigation by the Associated Press found that some states could not account for all the equipment and may have been disposing of it improperly.
The Pentagon has suspended distribution of the weapons and equipment while an audit is conducted. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is the state coordinator.
Minnesota has about 3,300 weapons including two aircraft, one watercraft in St. Paul, and 28 armored vehicles, according to Julie Anderson, spokeswoman for the state's Department of Public Safety, which administers the program through the department's homeland security division.
Minnesota is now in the process of inventorying the collection, which has been supplied to almost 300 law enforcement agencies around the state.
"We have reached out to all the recipients of these various items and we are just waiting for absolute confirmation," Anderson said. "But we are quite confident that everything has been accounted for here in Minnesota."
Anderson said police don't anticipate difficulty cause by any interruption of the supply.
"We make sure that these surplus military items get in the hands of law enforcement agencies across our state who need them," Anderson said.