Ferguson highlights police use of military surplus

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have drawn down, law enforcement agencies across the country have been receiving surplus 30-ton, mine resistant trucks from the military.

And nowhere has the deployment of these military surplus armored vehicles been on more vivid display than in Ferguson, Missouri this week.

One CBS News story about police using military surplus equipment mentioned that the Boise Police Department has an MRAP vehicle designed to withstand roadside bombs.

A spokeswoman for the Boise PD said nobody was available to talk about its MRAP, but she referred us to the department's website which said the armored vehicle will be used for high risk response and rescue.

Nampa police also received an MRAP from the military and the Ada County Sheriff's Office has its own armored personnel carrier as well.

Many law enforcement agencies nationwide are on waiting lists for their own armored military vehicles, all paid for with your tax dollars.

But after the use of military-style equipment against unarmed civilians in Ferguson, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder worries it sends a conflicting message about community policing.

Still, many people we talked to locally say it makes sense for police to use this military surplus gear. Others had questions about the purpose.

But the fact is, more and more police departments are arming their officers at home with military equipment once used on battlefields abroad.