Portage County receives free military gear - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Portage County receives free military gear

Department of Defense (Source: MGN Online) Department of Defense (Source: MGN Online)

The Portage County Fair had two new humvees sitting proudly on display.

They were given to the Portage County Sheriff's office through the Department of Defense program that provides free military gear to local police agencies.

Portage County Sheriff Dave Doak says the humvees are ideal for the area's rural conditions, especially during floods, "because they're height they were able to get through some of the water, get up to residents and evacuate them."

The Department of Defense is giving military surplus gear to local police agencies across the nation. Everything from planes and helicopters to body armor and grenade launchers. Here in Portage County, the agencies have received 164 assault rifles, 26 pistols and two armored vehicles.

Sheriff Doak estimates a truck like this costs at least $100,000 and without the program, his office wouldn't be able to afford it. "It's equipment we would need, somehow if we evacuate or ended up searching for somebody."

Local use of military equipment intended for terrorist attacks has been controversial after the Ferguson riots where military gear was used during protests.

Doak says his office is committed to using the gear responsibly, "our goal is to keep the deputies safe and the public safe as well."

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