Minnesota police departments may have to give up military-style gear, weapons


Several police departments across Minnesota have in their arsenals things like grenade launchers, sniper scopes, and heavily armored military vehicles – all of which may have to be returned to the federal government.

It's part of a Pentagon program that's been meting out unused military equipment to local law enforcement across the country for years, but now it's being scaled back dramatically under an executive order from President Obama, MPR News reports.

The decision to ban the distribution of certain weapons and tightly regulate others was announced on Monday.

It follows months of controversy over the Ferguson, Missouri police department's heavily armed response to protesters angered over the death of unarmed black youth Michael Brown, according to CNN.

Images of the officers using riot gear and other combat equipment raised questions over whether America's police were becoming militarized, the network says.

One sticking point for some Minnesota law enforcement is the use of grenade launchers, which are included in the "banned list."

Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott defended his department's grenade launchers in an interview with the St. Cloud Times, saying they've proved useful – and that he would "buy another one" if required to return the current weapon.

The newspaper reported last year that the St. Cloud P.D. is one of seven departments in the state with an MRAP, or mine-resistent ambush-protected vehicle – a heavily armored combat personnel carrier.

MPR notes that over 240 state and local law agencies in Minnesota have 5,200 military surplus items they received under the federal program.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Report: Kellen Mond has COVID, Cousins among players out of practice

The team is scheduled to practice on Saturday night.

USPS packages

Two Ramsey County men sentenced in mail theft scheme

Sonny Vang Xiong was sentenced to three years in prison, while Davis Her was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Jeff Gladney

Jeff Gladney's ex-girlfriend files $1 million civil lawsuit

The civil lawsuit accuses Gladney of assaulting the woman for over two hours.

vaccine, covid

St. Paul care home group will mandate COVID vaccines for staff

It comes amid reports of COVID outbreaks at homes where residents are all vaccinated, but staff are not.

Jail handcuffs arrest

Starbuck man charged with uploading, sharing child pornography

The 47-year-old was arrested after a tip from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.


Boy, 11, seriously injured after 'fall' that police now suspect was abuse

It was initially reported that the boy slipped and fell.

police lights

Investigation underway after body found during welfare check in Plato

The identity of the deceased has not yet been revealed.

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.