SLO County law enforcers acquiring military equipment

September 10, 2014

BearcatPolice departments and the sheriff’s office in San Luis Obispo County have been participating in federal grant programs that allow them to obtain used military weapons, gear and vehicles. [Tribune]

Through U.S. Defense and Homeland Security Department grants, San Luis Obispo County law enforcement agencies have acquired items including assault rifles, armored vehicles, body armor and surveillance equipment. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and the San Luis Obispo Police Department have obtained much of the equipment passed on to local agencies.

Since 2003, the sheriff’s office has received 12 rifles, 11 vehicles, 25 units of body armor and 182 units of surveillance equipment. San Luis Obispo police have obtained 14 rifles, 1 vehicle, 16 units of body armor and 676 units of surveillance equipment.

Both agencies have acquired Lenco Bearcats, which are armored vehicles larger in size than Hummers. The regional SWAT team has used the Bearcat vehicle in responding to cases of armed residents barricading themselves in buildings.

Last year, the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail, a second local SWAT Team, used a Bearcat during an urban warfare training in the middle of Los Osos. CalCoastNews obtained footage of the vehicle driving to the training site.



  1. mkaney says:

    On another list that was published, it turns out that the SLOPD received over 50 bayonets. I really think there needs to be some citizen review board set up to look over what they have received and determine what they can and cannot keep. I hardly think that bayonets are appropriate for the police to have under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. Gordo says:

    I believe the sheriff’s departments swat team is actually the oldest team in the county. Several of my friends were on it in the 70’s and 80’s when they were deputies.
    I didn’t know the cities formed a swat team; I can not imagine why, this county isn’t that busy.
    As far as the equipment it looks as though what the sheriff’s department has acquired is very reasonable given the size of the county.
    One item the article failed to mention specifically is the humvee acquired by Sheriff Parkinson for the search and rescue. This vehicle was obtained following the tragic death of Chris Meadows, a search and rescue volunteer who was killed responding to a medical aid call in the Oceano Dunes. The humvee has a wider wheel base, is more stable and had Chris been riding in one that day he might still be alive.
    If Cal Coast want a story about abuse of government equipment they need to get a list of what Santa Maria P. D. obtained during Chief Danny Macagna.
    My law enforcement friends say that Macagna had a small tank and about a dozen humvees. He also had a lot of rifles, some of which he gave to his friends. Now that, if true, is a real story!

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. NorthCountyGuy says:

    Federal money and equipment isn’t free. It has costly strings attached to it. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    Police Departments that Use Military Gear at Protests May Be Forced to Repay Federal Grants
    The 1033 program has provided 12,000 bayonets, 5,200 humvees and 617 mine-resistant ambush protection vehicles (MRAPs) to local police agencies. Close to 200 state and local police departments in the US have lost military-level equipment transferred to them by the Pentagon’s 1033 program.

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  4. godislanguage says:

    Oh boy!!! They have one of the Trade Center Towers I-beams as part of a memorial today at Laguna Golf.

    It’s going to get a police escort to SLO farmers market. I hope we get to see our transparent government in action when they include this military hardware in their procession!

    (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  5. Ishmael09p says:

    Here’s hoping they use the guns and tanks and whatnot to secure the dunes against the motorized morons who keep injuring themselves and others out there, while covering the rest of us in exhaust flavored dust. Maybe if the cops just shot them all they could then give the weapons back to the fed.

    (-8) 16 Total Votes - 4 up - 12 down
  6. NorthCountyGuy says:

    This is how the police will be misusing and abusing their military toys.

    Jose Guerena’s family gets settlement, but his killers still wear badges

    Guerena survived 2 tours in Iraq, but didn’t survive his local SWAT team.
    Posted on September 19, 2013

    SWAT Team Shoots Innocent Man 22 Times In Front of Family. Case Settled in the Millions.

    (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down
  7. slophocles says:

    They need it, just to keep control of all the rapists, pedophiles, sex-traffickers, and torturers in the county. There’s so many of them, pretty soon they’re going to start a gang!

    (0) 22 Total Votes - 11 up - 11 down
    • topper01 says:

      Militarizing our local law enforcement does not help catch rapist, pedophiles, sex-traffickers nor torturers. What it does do is allows the Federal Govt to have a hold on the local law enforcers. In the event of a civil unrest against the Federal govt, the locals will be called to help Soetoro’s personal army. Also called the Department of Homeland Security.

      Obama said that he wanted a civilian force, just as equipped and well trained as the US Military. Why? Could it be he is afraid of a military coop?

      (8) 20 Total Votes - 14 up - 6 down
      • zaphod says:

        who,s afraid of the new confederacy? for fifty Alec.

        (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        I gave you a reluctant thumbs up. Your started out correctly but then went stupidly partisan. It doesn’t matter which of the current two major political parties are in power. They both support this fascist trend and they are both capable of misusing the power to suppress dissent by those who disagree with them.

        (7) 13 Total Votes - 10 up - 3 down
  8. SamLouis says:

    Back in 1967, Daryl Gates of the LAPD created the paramilitary SWAT team. Without a doubt this creation (and Gates himself) influenced the entire LAPD, giving it a very hard-edged, paramilitary look, feel and mode of operation. Many justified (and applauded) this transformation by pointing out that the LAPD had a huge metropolitan area to cover with comparatively few offers.

    SLO County law enforcement does not.

    25 years later in 1992 during the Rodney King Riots Chief Gates was attacked and ultimately removed because his efforts had shifted the focus of the LAPD from one of “community based policing” to a law enforcement organization that had become ever more paramilitary.

    These expensive toys are a waste in SLO County, they antagonize the citizenry and they divide law enforcement officers from the communities in which they are paid to protect. Community-based policing is very hard work but it’s a helluva lot more effective than the paramilitary crap more and more law enforcement agencies are subscribing to these days.

    (19) 31 Total Votes - 25 up - 6 down
    • zaphod says:

      original name Special Weapons Attack Team in response to race war paranoia

      (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
      • SamLouis says:

        A name that was never used due to it being rejected by then LAPD Chief Ed Davis.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • r0y says:

        It was either that or Tactical Weapons Assault Team…

        (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
        • aft50s says:

          I seem to remember way back when that the City of Santa Maria’s original bus service was to be named Santa Maria Urban Transit until it was realized what the initials spelled… Urban was changed to Area.

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down

Comments are closed.