Police Around State Gain Military Firepower; Critics See Danger

As law-enforcement agencies around the state make use of assault rifles, armored vehicles and a windfall of other surplus tactical equipment from the military, some fear community policing will give way to a “militarized” mindset.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Crime isn’t exactly rampant in the Yakima Valley town of Grandview, population 10,862.

In 2013, the city had three robberies, six aggravated assaults and 10 rapes. There were no homicides in the city last year.

But that didn’t stop the Grandview Police Department from utilizing the Defense Department’s surplus materiel program to equip a tactical team made up of 10 of its 17 officers with an assortment of items that read like a sort of SWAT-in-a-box.

Over a few years, the department received 1,400 pounds of expended brass cartridges for reloading, five sets of $3,000 night-vision goggles, 14 laser-sights, five rifles, ammo magazines and bandoleers, and medic and survival kits, all at little or no cost.

Read more, including quotes from Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg, at

Mike Carter: or 206-464-3706