Suspects in a home-invasion were wearing Sheriff vests.
Stockton police are also missing a total of 17 weapons since 2010.
Law enforcement agencies around the country have lost a high number of weapons obtained through the 1033 Program.
The federal agencies appear to not be able to track the weapons they have been transferring to police departments.
Police in Stockton, California, are looking for four to five suspects involved in a home-invasion. The suspects were said to have on sheriff’s vests during the robbery.
Investigators say the house was being used for a marijuana growing operation. The suspects ran into the house wearing sheriff’s vests and managed to leave the scene with cash, marijuana, and a gray 2008 Toyota Tundra. There has been no description of the suspects released at this point.
Hearing that the suspects were wearing sheriff’s vests may sound shocking to some, but in the reality of a militarized police era with no accountability, it’s not.
Stockton Police cannot account for at least 17 weapons that have gone missing.
Aside from the four to five sheriff vests being lost to the streets, Stockton police have more than a few weapons floating the streets as well. Two Colt assault rifles, 15 12 gauge Remingtons, and two Bushmaster assault rifles were announced to be unaccounted for in 2014.
As of now, two of the shotguns were said to have been located, leaving at least 17 weapons from the Stockton Police Department that are now owned by the streets.
Lt. Rodney Rego claims the weapons were most likely stolen when a closing police building was burglarized. However, Rego was quoted as saying, “We just don’t really know what happened to them.” The exact answer you would expect to hear from a police department when speaking of missing weapons, right?
While Rego is not sure what happened to the weapons, he does have a few theories and not one of them sound very promising. Some of the weapons may have been cannibalized for parts, stolen, or even traded in for newer weapons.
A large amount of law enforcement weapons have been lost to the streets.
Stockton PD is not the only one that apparently cannot keep track of their weapons. The Mercury News released a study that showed since 2010, 944 police weapons in the Bay Area were either lost, stolen, or unaccounted.
The numbers broke down to 717 unaccounted for, 192 stolen, and 35 misplaced. The weapons included 600 semi-automatic pistols and revolvers, 251 shotguns, 27 assault rifles, 16 rifles, 15 sniper rifles, 12 grenade/tear gas launchers, 1 submachine gun, and 22 not disclosed or unknown weapons.
Since 1999, the federal government has given over 9,800 weapons to police departments. Many of those weapons end up being for sale in gun stores or stolen.
The weapons being dispersed to these police departments include handguns, assault rifles, uzis, and of course grenade launchers. Because what police department does not need a grenade launcher?
The militarization of police departments around the country has brought scrutiny on the reasoning for a police force needing such destructive weapons.
For example, in South Carolina, the Cayce Police Department has in their possession not one, but two, military-style grenade launchers. The Cayce Police Department oversees a population of fewer than 13,000 people. What possible reason did the federal government feel the Cayce Police Department needed two military-style grenade launchers?
The 1033 Program distributed weapons to law enforcement without the ability to keep track of them.
The 1033 Program is directly responsible for militarizing our country’s police. Created by the National Defense Authorization Act in 1997, the program aimed to transfer excess military equipment to civilian law enforcement.
As of now, it appears that roughly $2.2 billion worth of military gear is now in possession of the country’s law enforcement. According to a study conducted by Forbes, here is what was distributed around the country.
Aside from weapons, military vehicles were distributed as well. This included 7,091 trucks, 625 mine-resistant vehicles, 471 helicopters, 56 airplanes, and 329 armored trucks and cars.
On the weapons end, the 1033 Program was like Christmas for law enforcement agencies. The federal government distributed 57 grenade launchers, 83,122 M16/M14 rifles, 8,198 pistols, 1,385 riot 12-guage shotguns, 5,638 bayonets, and 36 swords and scabbards.
Other gear dished out by the federal government included, 18,299 night-vision sights, sniper scopes, binoculars, goggles, infrared and image magnifiers, 5,518 infrared, articulated, panoramic and laser telescopes, and 866 mine detecting sets, marking kits, and probes.
Questions surround the 1033 Program.
Forbes goes on to point out a few of the more questionable weapon transfers. Lacon, IL, with a population of only 1,853, received six .45 and .38 special pistols, five M16/M14, and one 12 gauge ‘riot’ shotgun.
The Department of Natural Resources received 174 M16 and M14 rifles. For those who are not sure what the DNR does, they are charged with maintaining natural resources, such as state parks, state forests, and recreation areas. Not exactly a job that calls for the need of an M16.
Perhaps the most disturbing are a large number of bayonets that were obtained through the 1033 Program. While some may argue that there are multiple purposes for a bayonet, in reality, its primary use was the last means of killing an enemy should you run out of ammo, or be attacked while attempting to reload.
The bayonet is thought to have possibly originated from hunting dangerous game. Due to the amount of time it took to reload more primitive guns, bayonets could be a lifesaver for someone hunting wild boar, or other dangerous game that could attack during the process of reloading. For obvious reasons, the bayonet made its way on to the battlefield.
So why would the DHS, ATF, FBI, DEA possibly need a bayonet? Apparently, there was not a logical answer to that question, as Obama signed an executive order that banned the transfer of bayonets as of 2016. Executive Order 13688 was signed into action in 2015. Its purpose was to limit and prohibit the transfer of certain weapons beginning in 2016 after the damage was already done.