The Washoe Board of County Commissions will consider Tuesday approval of more than $100,000 worth of military surplus equipment being donated to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO).
The gear, from the Department of Defense’s Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, primarily includes safety and rescue equipment, such as gloves, rescue sleds, jackets and chem lights. It also includes barber kits, gun cases and 38 riot shields.
Concerns about the federal program, which has given everything from grenade launchers and military vehicles to local law enforcement, were raised nationally in reporting by Radley Balko, whose book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces,” helped bring to light questions about the use of military gear supplied to local law enforcement.
President Obama moved last year to restrict certain types of equipment donated to local law enforcement.
The banned list includes: tank-like armored vehicles that move on tracks, certain types of camouflage uniforms, bayonets, firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or higher, grenade launchers, and weaponized aircraft.”
WCSO accepts the federal donations each year.
Its 2015 list of equipment shows similar rescue and safety gear with the exception of a lone bayonet, which was designated for use by the WCSO Detention Response Team. The team, according to the WCSO, “was formed in 1988 in order to provide a specially trained team capable of quelling disturbances in the jail, extricating combative inmates and providing transportation for high security inmates.”
The equipment will be used “to support (the) DRT, K9 Units, RAVEN, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit and Search and Rescue of WCSO,” according to the county.
The complete list is below.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.