Molly Redden at Mother Jones (via Kilgore) has the real scoop on why US local police forces are acquiring all that ridiculous heavy weaponry and those MRAPs. It’s a bureaucratic boondoggle!

According to interviews with state officials running point between the Pentagon and police, the Defense Department prefers to leave equipment in circulation whenever possible. “It’s a low-cost storage method for them,” says Robb Davis, the mayor pro tem of Davis. His town is trying to shake its MRAP. “They’re dumping these vehicles on us and saying, ‘Hey, these are still ours, but you have to maintain them for us.'”

Police departments, in most cases, bear the costs of shipping the equipment to its new home. Making things more difficult, as the Defense Department reevaluates the program this fall, the agency temporarily closed the portion of its website that allows police departments to request returns.

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