The events in Ferguson, Missouri have called attention to exactly how well armed local law enforcement agencies are. The New York Times on Friday published an interactive map laying out the amount of military surplus gear in almost every county obtained through a Department of Defense program that was established in the 1990s.
That gear includes assault rifles, planes and helicopters, armored vehicles, body armor, grenade launchers, and night vision goggles. In some counties, the amount of hardware is impressive particularly for how common some of the heavy equipment like armored vehicles or grade launchers have become.
For instance, in Marion County, Indiana (population 928,281), the map says law enforcement has 330 assault rifles, 32 night vision equipment pieces, 30 pieces of body armor, 28 pistols, three grenade launchers and two armored vehicles.
In Coconino County, Arizona (population 136,539) the map lists 68 assault rifles, 48 pieces of body armor, 30 night vision goggles, 16 pistols, and six shotguns.
In Chilton County Alabama (population 43,951), the map lists 52 pistols, 38 assault rifles, 22 night vision goggles, two mine resistant vehicles, one helicopter and one plane.
And in St. Louis County, Missouri (population 1,001,444), where Ferguson is located, the map lists 12 assault rifles, six pistols, three helicopters, and two night vision pieces.
You can see the map here.