TORRANCE, CA - Several public sector fleets have taken advantage of purchasing specialized equipment at a significantly low cost, thanks to the Department of Defense's 1033 program. The program provides military surplus vehicles to law enforcement agencies and was initially set up to aid counter-drug investigations.
When military vehicles have exhausted their lifespan for the Army, Marine Corps, or other service branches, they're decomissioned, demilitarized, and offered to American law enforcement agencies for tactical missions. Law enforcement agencies with these special missions can apply for and acquire vehicles deemed military surplus at a significant discount from the 1033 program.
The Merced County (Calif.) Sheriff's Department and the Nashville (Tenn.) Police Department are just a few of the agencies that have participated in the program, according to POLICE magazine.
Merced County uses armored trucks to reach the remote fields where marijuana growers cultivate their crops. The Nashville PD used inflatable boats to reach stranded victims during the 2010 flooding, reported POLICE.
Vehicles given out to agencies have included a range of different configurations of HMMWV (high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle), a Volvo bobtail truck, Zodiac boats, King Air C12 fixed-wing aircraft, an MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) armored truck, semi-tractor trailer, and a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV).
To successfully use the program, agencies must be willing to outlay funds to repair the vehicles.