Since the early 1990s, the Pentagon has transferred a significant amount of surplus military equipment to state and local police departments as part of its “Department of Defense Excess Property Program,” and at a press conference yesterday afternoon, it was announced that the Chattanooga Police department would receive an aircraft carrier from the program, to aid local law enforcement.
In the last eight years alone, tens of thousands of machine guns have been provided to police across the nation by the Pentagon, in addition to weapons such as grenade launchers, body armor and night-vision equipment and vehicles including aircraft and armored cars.
The acquisition of the surplus aircraft carrier USS Henry Kissinger (CVN-78) was deemed a major victory for the local police force, although it comes at a time when the use of military equipment in law enforcement is facing harsh criticism, after the high-profile protests in Ferguson, Mo.
The aircraft carrier is expected to initially take the place of the dilapidated North Shore barge this fall, after the aircraft carrier aids in its obliteration, and subsequently, it may be used to patrol the Tennessee River along the Chattanooga Riverwalk.
In addition to modern weaponry, the Chattanooga Police department will also receive older equipment, such as catapults, bayonets and howitzers, to aid its crime-fighting efforts to apprehend shoplifters, marijuana dealers and other criminals.