A national conversation over the merits of militarizing local police has boiled over in recent days as images of riot gear-clad officers flanked by armored vehicles flash across TV and computer screens from Ferguson, Mo., the St. Louis suburb where protests have followed the fatal shooting of an unarmed African American man by a police officer.
As part of that conversation, The New York Times produced an interactive map yesterday that allows you to click on any county in the United States to see how many and what types of military equipment have been purchased through a free Department of Defense program.
For New Mexicans, conversation over the merits of militarizing police is not new. In April, the Albuquerque Journal’s Michael Coleman told us in his informative three-part series about local police departments across the nation, and in New Mexico, that have benefitted from federal programs that give out military equipment. Rob Nikolewski of Watchdog.org followed that up in June with a list of New Mexico cities and counties, and perhaps curiously, the New Mexico State University Police Department, that have received mine-resistant vehicles through federal programs.
The New York Times map gives us yet another resource to continue the discussion.
Have fun clicking.