In recent years, local governments across California have been raiding the ex-military cache of weapons, vehicles, and other equipment. In 2011, Sacramento received $2.4 million worth of hardware, giving it a sizeable “army” despite budget cuts.

Among the treasures taken from the military, you can find M-16 assault rifles, vans, ATVs, life rafts, and even grenade launchers. The Sacramento Police Department received eight launchers in recent years, in addition to two helicopters. The program has been in existence sine 1990, when Congress authorized the extra equipment to be handed down to local and state agencies. Since then, Sacramento has taken in $25.3 million worth of hardware.

The militarization of the police force is seen by members of the ACLU as overkill, and leads to situations where a gas-powered assault rifle is brought to a pillow fight.

But not all of the equipment taken could be used for waging a war. 83 percent of goods are classified as general equipment, a category that includes grills, computers, pens, flashlights, and an espresso machine. .0075 percent of the total value of equipment is firearms.

From the Sacramento News and Review:

While Sacramento law-enforcement officials gear up for another grueling round of pensions-vs.-layoffs brinksmanship, at least their supply of automatic rifles and grenade launchers is secure.

That’s because local public-safety agencies have spent the past two decades cashing in on more than $30 million worth of free military equipment—M16s, helicopters, even $5,000 espresso machines—from the federal government. Sacramento County has received the third-most freebies in the state, reviving concerns of a drastically militarized police force roaming our streets.

Read the full article here.