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updated: 8/21/2014 10:39 AM

Wisconsin police given $28 million in surplus military gear

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Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- Records show the Pentagon has given police agencies in Wisconsin more than $28 million in surplus military gear in the past decade, including assault rifles, grenade launchers and mine-resistant trucks.

Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs documents obtained by Gannett Wisconsin Media under the state's open records law show more than 67,000 military-grade items were given to 219 police agencies since 2004.

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The police departments pay for maintenance and transportation of the gear, which is still owned by the federal government. The surplus military gear sharing program started in 1990, was broadened in 1997 and escalated after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

President Obama this week called for a clear separation between the military and police agencies following a forceful police response to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

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