Welcome to Johnston, Rhode Island, population 28,769 (as of 2010). The town hasn’t seen a murder since 2004, and has had all of four since 1999.
But thanks to the Pentagon, Johnston’s cops are armed to the teeth.
The town of Johnston has received more than $4.1 million in military equipment over the past two years through a U.S. military surplus program that has supplied its Police Department with 2 Freightliner tractor-trailers, 12 humvees and several other trucks; 30 M-16 rifles and conversion parts to transform them into M-4 weapons, 599 M-16 magazines containing about 18,000 rounds; a sniper targeting calculator; 44 bayonets for ceremonial purposes; 5 generators from M1 tanks; military night-vision equipment…and 23 snow blowers. The Johnston SWAT team plans to train with its military equipment Saturday in a town park.
Supporters of the $2.5-billion surplus program see many valuable uses for municipal police departments. Johnston Police Detective Raymond Peters says the program is helping equip a SWAT team capable of becoming a “world-class hostage rescue team.”