Local police force discusses military weapons - WNEM TV 5

Local police force discusses military weapons

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BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

The military-style response of the Ferguson police force has caused some controversy throughout the last week and now more information is coming out about the kind of heavy equipment police agencies in Mid-Michigan have gotten over the last few years.

It's not your typical police vehicle, but a hummer is now part of the Bay County Sheriff's Department's fleet.

It's a very expensive vehicle that didn't cost the county or residents a dime. It was given to the county as part of program through the U.S. Army. 

"We've gotten two from the military surplus, stuff that they are no longer using," Undersheriff Troy Cunningham said.

He said the vehicles have been a big help since receiving them a year ago.

"We are using them basically just for if we get in incidents where something is flooded out and our patrol cars can't get back to residents of Bay County, just access some roads or if we get accidents that we can't get to in some of our rural areas with patrol vehicles," Cunningham said.

The hummers aren't the only tool the department has gotten over the years through the program.

"We've gotten some guns, some of the M-16s from the military. They have been converted, so they are now semi-automatics," he said. "They shoot one round every time the trigger is pulled once, they are not automatic or anything like that."

Cunningham said that is important for residents to understand just because they came from the military doesn't mean that's how the sheriff's department is using them. It's to create the safest community possible.

"It's great. We have all kinds of situations here in Bay County. With these long range rifles, we couldn't react till we got these from the military," Cunningham said.

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