The Los Angeles Unified School District has received an armored vehicle and grenade launchers from the United States military, reports CBSLA.
The military hardware at the disposal of LAUSD police officers includes a 20-foot-long, 14-ton armored transport vehicle, the website reports, much like the ones used to move Marines in Iraq combat zones.
The armored vehicle, which is worth $733,000 and stored at a secret location, has been in the department’s possession since July.
The district is also in possession of grenade launchers, which it received for free from the military after 9/11. Neither the armored vehicle nor the grenade launchers have ever been used.
LAUSD police Chief Steve Zipperman said the vehicle would be used for “extraordinary circumstances.”
“To suggest that it’s a threatening type of equipment or equipment for a show of force, that is not the case,” Zipperman said. “It’s something that we believe is a life-saving vehicle.”
Zipperman says the armored vehicle will stay but will only be deployed on his direct orders with the approval of the school superintendent.
The grenade launchers are expected to be returned.
At least 22 school systems in eight states have received military-grade equipment from the controversial Department of Defense 1033 program.
According to the program’s informational website, the 1033 Program has transferred $5.1 billion in military hardware from the United States Army to local American law enforcement agencies since 1997.
The site states that $449 million was transferred in 2013, and that 8,000 local law enforcement agencies participate in the program.