Special Report

The Most Militarized Local Police Departments in America, and the Equipment They Own

Courtesy of Florence County Sheriff's Office- South Carolina via Facebook

Since the 1990s, the Department of Defense has transferred excess military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies under the 1033 Program. (Also see, most large cities in America prioritize police over health and social support.)

To find which local police departments have the most federal military equipment, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on equipment transfers from the Defense Logistics Agency of the DOD. Law enforcement agencies were ranked based on the total value of military equipment transfers from 1990 to 2022. Statewide agencies were excluded. City and county population figures are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

While many of the equipment transfers are non-lethal items like first aid kids, jackets, or binoculars, the program has also allowed some departments to acquire items more commonly seen on the battlefield, including camouflage uniforms, helicopters and other aircraft, sniper rifles, mine-resistant vehicles, and tactical armored vehicles among others. 

The Buckeye Police Department of Buckeye, Arizona, for example, has received two Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, a military vehicle designed to withstand improvised explosive device attacks and ambushes. A spokeswoman for the police department has said the mine-resistant vehicles are being used by the SWAT team for tactical operations like barricades, search warrants, and responding to active shooter scenes.

Most of the states receiving the most federal military equipment overall are large states in the South, such as Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. Adjusted for population, however, the state receiving the most federal military equipment per capita is North Dakota. The Jamestown Police Department in Jamestown, North Dakota, for example — a city of roughly 16,000 people — has received over $3 million of surplus military equipment, including an armored humvee in 2021. (Here are the largest police departments in the U.S.)

Click here to see the most militarized local police departments in America, and the equipment they own.

25. Jamestown Police Department, North Dakota
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.2 million
> City population: 15,823
> Most expensive items: Infrared detecting set, up-armored NTVs, surveillance thermal device

[in-text-ad]

24. Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Virginia
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.3 million
> County population: 53,997
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, utility truck, air force EOD robots

23. Los Angeles Police Department, California
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.3 million
> City population: 3.9 million
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, MK 3 MOD 0 combat knives

22. Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.3 million
> County population: 51,474
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, non-lethal capabilities set, utility truck

[in-text-ad-2]

21. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.3 million
> County population: 256,755
> Most expensive items: Utility helicopter, mine-resistant vehicle, transmission assembly parts, observation helicopter

20. Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.4 million
> County population: 29,917
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, night vision image intensifiers

[in-text-ad]

19. Lane County Sheriff’s Department, Oregon
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.4 million
> County population: 380,532
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, unmanned ground vehicle, utility truck

18. Florence County Sheriff’s Department, South Carolina
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.5 million
> County population: 137,276
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, MK 3 MOD 0 combat knives, thermal imaging equipment

17. Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.7 million
> County population: 518,648
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, tactical wheeled vehicles, unmanned ground vehicle, trucks and truck tractors

[in-text-ad-2]

16. Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.7 million
> County population: 601,573
> Most expensive items: Utility helicopter, observation helicopter

15. Orange County Sheriff’s Department, California
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.9 million
> County population: 3.2 million
> Most expensive items: Medevac helicopter, utility helicopter, bomb disposal trailer, MK 3 MOD 0 combat knives, expandable shelter

[in-text-ad]

14. Howell County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $3.9 million
> County population: 39,753
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, expandable shelter, utility truck, truck tractor

13. Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $4.1 million
> County population: 479,758
> Most expensive items: Utility helicopter, aircraft gas turbine engine, observation helicopter

12. Jackson Police Department, Tennessee
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $4.2 million
> City population: 67,753
> Most expensive items: Flight trainer helicopter, mine-resistant vehicle, unmanned ground vehicle

[in-text-ad-2]

11. Buckeye Police Department, Arizona
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $4.2 million
> City population: 89,711
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, pickup, air force EOD robots, trucks and truck tractors

10. Tuscaloosa Police Department, Alabama
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $4.3 million
> City population: 99,252
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, non-lethal capabilities set, utility truck, observation helicopter

[in-text-ad]

9. King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $4.3 million
> County population: 2.2 million
> Most expensive items: Utility helicopter, flight trainer helicopter, van truck

8. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, California
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $4.5 million
> County population: 2.2 million
> Most expensive items: Utility helicopter, cargo airplane

7. Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, California
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $4.8 million
> County population: 1.7 million
> Most expensive items: Small craft boat, utility truck

[in-text-ad-2]

6. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, California
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $5.3 million
> County population: 447,651
> Most expensive items: Utility helicopter, jet engines, mine-resistant vehicle, unmanned ground vehicle

5. Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $5.8 million
> County population: 96,295
> Most expensive items: Mine-resistant vehicle, unmanned ground vehicle, night vision image intensifiers

[in-text-ad]

4. Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $6.0 million
> County population: 714,484
> Most expensive items: Medevac helicopter, utility helicopter, mine-resistant vehicle

3. Houston Police Department, Texas
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $6.9 million
> City population: 2.3 million
> Most expensive items: Fixed-wing aircraft, forklift truck, utility truck

2. Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $7.7 million
> County population: 420,625
> Most expensive items: Container maintenance facility, medevac helicopter, utility helicopter, mine-resistant vehicle

[in-text-ad-2]

1. Sacramento Police Department, California
> Total value of surplus military equipment: $8.3 million
> City population: 518,605
> Most expensive items: Utility helicopter, excavating equipment, operating training devices

URGENT – New Seats Available (sponsored)

Top financial advisors are now accepting new clients for 2024! Finding the right advisor can be the difference between retiring early, or working forever. Don’t waste a moment matching with the right advisor for you. Every moment today can mean riches tomorrow, with the right advisor by your side.

Use the advisor match tool below, or click here now, to find your financial freedom!

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.