Since 2006, Kentucky law enforcement agencies have received armored cars, aircraft, automatic weapons and more from a U.S. military equipment transfer program that has come under fire in the wake of civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
Data, obtained from the Pentagon by The New York Times, identifies transfers of surplus military equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense's "1033 program,” which funnels surplus gear to state and local police departments, to 90 of Kentucky's 120 counties.
The records span from 2006 to May 2014, and place the value of the items—in various degrees of quality and offered for free to Kentucky agencies by the federal government—at about $38 million. Nationwide, the program has disbursed over $5 billion of equipment since its inception.
The program has been scrutinized by civil liberties advocates, citizens and elected officials across the U.S., who have been critical of law enforcement's military-style response to protests in the Ferguson, a predominantly African-American suburb 12 miles north of St. Louis. The unrest occurred in the wake of the fatal police shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown.