After images of tank-like vehicles in Ferguson turned against ordinary citizens, many towns are trying to return military gear supplied by the Defense Department-and finding it impossible.
The tanks came from a vast Defense Department program that has furnished American police arsenals, at no charge, with $4.3 billion worth of combat equipment leftover from two foreign wars. The tanks are mine-resistant and some even amphibious.
Police in San Jose, Davis, Chelan County, the San Diego want to give them back. The Los Angeles school system police department wants to return its three grenade launchers. And so it goes.
But Pentagon Spokesman, General Mel Brooks, said, "Law enforcement agencies across the country have already returned more than 6,000 items to the Pentagon. We don't want any more given back.. We don't know where to put all of this peace-making equipment."
But Police Agencies can't return large pieces of tactical equipment without Defense Department approval, and because the Pentagon technically still owns that equipment, they can't sell it. And they can't the approval.
And, it now turns out that the Defense Department has closed the portion of its website that allows police departments to request returns of military equipment they find useless.
Upon hearing of this General Mell Brooks responded that "I don't know that Defense has a website. Wouldn't that give Isis, the Taliban and al-Queda too much information?"
Hell I'd like to have a tank with a machine gun turret that's amphibious, and capable of firing 107-mm mortars in my very own back yard. Who on earth wouldn't ?," asked the General.