From M-16 assault rifles to reconnaissance helicopters to electric golf carts, local law enforcement agencies in Florida have been stocking up on surplus military equipment for years.
At just pennies on the dollar, it’s easy to understand why.
“My operating costs are so cheap it’s ridiculous,” John Coppola, chief pilot for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, told Watchdog.org.
Coppola is in charge of purchasing decommissioned military equipment for BCSO, something the 35-year law enforcement veteran says he’s been doing for almost 20 years.
“I run our air unit for almost nothing. If you saw our budget you’d laugh,” Coppola said, aware of public blowback over military equipment use.
Watchdog.org contacted the sheriff’s office after reviewing a federal database that indicated Brevard County, population 550,000, received 79 military helicopters through the federal government’s 1033 program. That figure turned out to be inaccurate as it likely includes surplus helicopter parts and other equipment meant for a local Air Force base.
By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog
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