A recent Pentagon report shows police departments across the U.S. have armed themselves with thousands of military machine guns, ammunition magazines, armored cars and aircraft as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down.


Congress created the military-transfer program in the '90s when police felt outgunned by drug gangs.  Ray Hunt at the Houston Police Officers' Union says even HPD has benefited.


“I know that we had a Humvee and some other equipment that we've gotten,” Hunt tells KTRH News.


Some question whether local police need night-vision equipment, silencers or mine-resistant vehicles because violent crime is down, as are domestic terrorist attacks.


Hunt insists police do need it, especially if it is equipment considered a surplus that would otherwise be scrapped.


“Large crowds, flooding,or things of this nature, any of that type of equipment could readily be available for our SWAT team or our dive team, for any type of emergency situation,” he says.


Since 2006, the police in six states have received magazines that carry 100 rounds of M-16 ammunition, allowing officers to fire continuously for three times longer than normal. Twenty-two states obtained equipment to detect buried land mines.


Hunt can't see why any department would turn it down.


“You can't have a hurricane or major disaster here and expect to get equipment in here from Washington D.C. overnight, so you have unfortunately have to have it on standby, and that's what we do,” says Hunt.