BOZEMAN, Mont. — A handful of Montana law enforcement agencies that have received military surplus items over the past 18 months aren’t in compliance with a state law that requires them to make public their requests for such items, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.
Great Falls police received a $77,000 remote-controlled robot, and the department has posted a list of its requests online.
However, departments in four other counties have received surplus items since the bill passed in April 2015, and none have posted information about their requests or acquisitions, the Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/2eKbB5Z ).
The law passed during the 2015 Legislature doesn’t allow state law enforcement agencies to receive armored or weaponized drones, aircraft that are configured for combat, grenades, silencers or militarized armored vehicles. It also requires agencies to publish a notice if it requests property from a military surplus program.
Toole County Sgt. Jeff Jergens said the new law wasn’t very well publicized. He says the county received backpacks and electronic optics from the military.
McCone County Deputy Sheriff Paul Skyberg said the agency had recently received M16 rifles, but that he’s having work done on them before they are used. He said he planned to take a couple of pictures and put them on the department’s Facebook page with information about how much money the department is saving.
Republican Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer of Superior sponsored the bill. He said he has created an online application to make it easier for departments to comply with the law and for the public to easily access the information.
“I’m not running for re-election. I have nothing to gain here except getting the state’s law enforced,” Schwaderer said.
Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com