Marijuana Cited as Reason Emerald Area Sheriff’s Need Armored Vehicles
Once again the Emerald Counties make the news. This time in a piece about the increased militarization of law enforcement, the Washington Post prominently features two of our local Sheriff’s Departments requesting armored vehicles to fight marijuana (see screengrab above.) As the Post explains, “Police departments can request surplus military gear from the Pentagon through the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which doles out hundreds of millions of dollars in military goods to cops each year.”
The Post article relies on an investigation by Mother Jones magazine which zeroed in on who had requested mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles and why they did so. Their request to the Pentagon produced over 450 applications filed between 2012 and 2013. And, as the Mother Jones piece noted, “[T]the single most common reason agencies requested a mine-resistant vehicle was to combat drugs.”
The requests from Shasta and Trinity reflect this. Shasta wanted two Armored Tactical Vehicles for use “during apprehension of suspects in both Marijuana eradication and during high (no pun intended) risk search warrant service for drug offenders.” Trinity County which requested one single wheeled, 4×4 armored vehicle, says that the “increase in marijuana production has resulted in an increase in violent crime.”
In 2013, the Eureka Police Department received an “eight passenger, all wheel drive ballistic resistant vehicle” from the Department of Defense. As the EPD can’t be found in the Mother Jones’ documents, we don’t know what reasons they cited for needing the vehicle.