Among its fleet of helicopters, patrol cars, inmate buses and other vehicles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department keeps four long-haul semitrailers ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Their purpose: Travel the country retrieving discarded – and free of charge – U.S. military hand-me-downs for its deputies to use in California.
M16 rifles, helicopters, microwaves, survival kits, workout equipment, bayonet knives, ammunition cans and more – the LA sheriff’s office snaps up an average of $4 million to $5 million in surplus military equipment annually.
For example, in this photo Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Watkins shows one of five H-3 helicopters transferred from the military. It’s now used for search and rescue and SWAT transport. Read our full investigation.