Not From the Onion: Grenade Launchers for School Police

LATimes: Los Angeles Unified school police officials said Tuesday that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. The move comes as education and civil rights groups have called on the U.S. Department of Defense to halt the practice for schools.

The Los Angeles School Police Department, which serves the nation’s second-largest school system, will return three grenade launchers but intends to keep 61 rifles and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle it received through the program.

A school police department with grenade launchers and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle! Only in America.

The article is from 2014 but relevant to current discussions of militarized police.

Hat tip: Noah Smith.

L.A. Unified's police department received a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle like this one through a federal program.


You gotta love it... one of the bluest cities on Earth, located in the bluest state in the USA, has to admit that its schools own grenade launchers.

So is Alex the Dem forced to exclaim, in this entirely Dem situation?

>Only in America.


Exactly. The doublethink is astounding.

Or is it more properly an oxymoron to refer to 'lifesaving weaponry'? "L.A. Unified says that the M-16 automatic rifles, which were modified to semiautomatic since they were acquired in 2001, are “essential life-saving items” and will continue to be available to trained officers."

So, yo be contrarian, let’s ask first have these been used (no), but more importantly second, what brought LA Unified to acquire these?

Could be something like strategic planning for something big but unexpected? I vaguely remember a robbery (bank?) where the criminals were clad in body armour and were so well armed that the police had to break into a gun shop to get better / stronger weapons. Was this kind of event the spur to such arming up?

'what brought LA Unified to acquire these'

A loss of faith in the already existing MRAP and (semi?) automatic weapon equipped LA SWAT team(s)? Whose odds of responding more quickly than any MRAP and semi- automatic weapon equipped LA Unified SWAT team would be excellent, one assumes.

Maybe the school police were worried that the LA SWAT team would be too heavy handed, so they are equipped with lifesaving semi-automatic weaponry, instead of the variety of weaponry available to the LA SWAT team - including grenade launchers, one can safely assume.

Seriously - you are arguing that two police forces using assault rifles and MRAP vehicles are necessary to handle extraordinarily rare situations, instead of just one? And one of those police forces is in charge of policing schools?

This underscores the point about militarization - not only does the U.S. have school police in some places, they are equipped in a fashion comparable to a military unit.

SWAT would likely be faster on the MRAP, but not likely to be faster on responding with long guns (semi auto rifles).

One of several drivers of increased firepower for U.S. police officers over the past few decades has been the change in "active shooter" tactics after Columbine (1999). Previously officers would secure a perimeter and then quite often went for SWAT. Now, the first officer(s) on the scene will go with what firepower they have toward the sound of gunfire.

*wait for SWAT

Or possibly are not familiar with how non-militarized police could be quipped equipped.

The shotgun riding in the middle of the front seat was certainly more firepower than normal policing required - which may be why it was left in the car, though certainly not hidden. Except, you know, when a bit more firepower in shooting scenarios seemed indicated.

All those weapons and yet nobody can make the teachers' unions behave reasonably. God must hate Americans.

They use the grenade launchers to shoot teargas, not grenades you buffoon. The past two weeks have demonstrated the necessity of these.

With corporate America pulling out all the stops in funding for antifa and friends, the rioters and looters will be much better armed. The poor schlubbs in law enforcement were outmanned and outgunned this time around. If there any police left next around, they may need all the armor they can get.

They returned the grenade launchers, yet kept the following firepower to deal with school problems - '61 rifles and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle it received through the program."

As one would not be surprised, Alex did not even notice 61 rifles that the Los Angeles School Police Department kept to deal with unruly students.

Anyone want to guess whether the MRAP was a Bearcat?

Yeah - you buffoon! That’s why they gave back the Grenade launcher and kept the rifles? Oh wait, I’m the buffoon. They took our jobs! Now let’s give our schools guns. What’s more American than a shitty education and excess guns in schools? Our leadership is a laughingstock... but it’s a tragedy if you are a citizen.

The cops in my old neighborhood got stupid Camaros.

Ironically, much of the reason that school police exists is that officials found the presence of regular police in schools to be too hostile to students.

Still, Alex has gotten caught up in clickbait hot takes yet again. The question to ask is: how often has the LA School Police Department actually used grenade launchers? That MRAP looks like it's been parked in the corner of the parking lot since it was purchased. Are the grenade launchers collecting dust in an armory somewhere? Reducing fuel mileage in the trunk of a squad car? Because if the department has no intention or plan to use these things then this conveniently-timed article is more about wasting taxpayer funds (albeit not much, since they get these items for a song) than it is about hating on police.

If I were that police department, I'd drag those items to the schools on Career Day to show off the fun reasons why those students might want to join the police department.

But there's probably no Career Day there, is there?

Do you even bother to read the article? - “It’s a rolling public relations vehicle,” Bhatt said. “We end up having to bring out a gas can and jumper cables every time we want to drive it — it’s only used twice a year.”

There are probably a ton of these vehicles lying around. During one election cycle, the parties were competing over who 'supported the troops' more, and these things ended up being the key metric cited by the talking heads of the day in that fight.

Oddly enough, the military didn't seem to really want them, as they were too big to use in Iraqi cities/towns.

There IS a ton of them lying around.

In the wake of Gulf War I, the Feds were giving these things away to a sorts of local Barney Fifes. Along with a variety of other "surplus" military hardware.

This was a major tipping point in the militarization of our police, which had been escalating along with the drug war.

It allowed the Feds to clear out inventory and create a boondoggle for their own resupply purchasing programs. It allowed politicians to look tough and bring home the bacon. And it gave local Keystone Kop Sheriffs and frightened Fox New viewers hard-ons.

They mostly sit idle. Except fourth of July parades, joy rides out to get donuts, and the occasional subpoena service to shady characters.

Fair point on the optics...but I'm not sure if scraping perfectly good, heavy-duty trucks would have been any better for environmental and waste of tax money reasons,

I suppose the amusing solution would have been to gift them to Mexican police departments as compensation for the “Fast and Furious” guns.

This is the reason our country is failing and will continue to fail. We invest so heavily in military to “protect” that the investment into our schools is partly made of old military hardware - probably so that they have the room to spend more money on new guns - to find an imaginary energy so that they get bigger - and we get dumber. Pathetic. Our leadership is trash.

There will be a ton of military surplus stuff sitting around now a lot of troops are out of Iraq. What are you going to do with it all?

I suppose you could do the usual thing and turn it into a reef off Florida. I am fine with that. They could also sell it cheap to civilians. I am also fine with that. I could do with one the next time me and my cousins go pig hunting.

I bet it doesn't get many miles to the gallon.

Chiming in here to correct some things. I’ve spent way too many hours in these

1 - The military absolutely wanted and needed them. They’re MRAPs. Even better with the CROWS

2 - Not only did we use them, when there were finally enough available it became a Theater level order for both Iraq and Afghanistan to only be allowed outside the wire in MRAPs. Rolling out in a 1151 or 1114 would result in a (local file) LoR at minimum for whoever the OIC happened to be

3 - they obviously were not too big for towns, I don’t even understand the idea behind this. Some shitty local pedestrian bridges couldn’t handle armored vehicle weight, maybe that’s where the rumor originated ?

4 - there’s no reason for police to have these except for the bomb squad

I have to say here, that it is reasonable for a large school police system to posses equipment for dealing with major active shooter situations. That is in fact one place where armor and tear gas might be approriate and actually speed response and save lives, both officer and student.

That said, the idea of regular school policing should emphasize deescalation and demilitarization.

They should leave active shooters to SWAT. (My guess is that the LA school police force is a duplicative silo to regular police, each with their own SWAT and tanks).

Please site an example where school police would have found an armored vehicle of benefit in dealing with students, even with armed students or intruders who are actively shooting at them.

The cops who respond to active shooter calls are the regular cops and their SWAT teams. School cops are alone for the first 5 minutes after a shooting starts. Their first and foremost job is to call 9-1-1. For a school cop, being armed with anything more than a taser is excessive. They'll likely to more harm than good with a gun.

how about evacuating injured students& teachers in a mass school shooting?


Give me a single example of the US needing nukes to respond to a nuclear attack!!

There have been a number of mass shootings at American schools in the last couple of decades Buckie. Not one involved the Cornpopsrazor
scenario. And remember your motto, Buckie boy - "Peace is Our Profession"

cornpops not your unpaid research assistant
the fello/a asked a hypothetical question and we answered it

Some things are nice to have, even if you might never use them.

Well, I don't know how of if the LA school police department planned to deploy the tanks, or the mortars.

But having an amored vehicle to approach an active shooter situation across an open parking lot, that's possibly rigged with booby traps, to insert officers and evacuate victims strikes as a reasonable use, and a plausible scenario.

With the right preparation, a couple shooters with AR15s and boxes of ammo could hold off un-armored black & whites for hours from an upper window. Modern suburban schools provide great defensible killing fields.

There's a cost/benefit consideration given the relative rareness of the scenario, but the public tolerance to watch an couple active shooters continue unstopped because the police cannot access to building would make for a pretty convincing argument.

". . . and a plausible scenario."

>large school police system

Anything that needs an MRAP should probably be left to the real police.

That said, I could see these thing being a cost effective (because the Pentagon gives them away for free) tool to haul heavy trailers around every now and then, and I could see a large school district needing to do that once and awhile.

"They should leave active shooters to SWAT."

That used to be the tactic - establish a perimeter and call SWAT - and it changed after Columbine (1999) because the shooters there killed 13 people, wounded 23 others, and then killed themselves before SWAT ever got there.

Lest we forget: Ferguson, Missouri's own US Rep. Lacy Clay (D) in 2014 voted in effect not to disrupt disbursements of military hardware to civilian departments of police:

Today, consonantly, his sympathies are with George Floyd, pending any approaching Congressional votes.

You guys have School Police Departments? Damn.... that's kinda horrifying.

Foreign countries are like the past - they do things differently there.

A week ago a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle would seem silly. Now, in Seattle, it's called a school bus.

I’m against busing! Also bussing.

Three are commenters here who completely dismiss the idea that America is over policed, or that military weaponry in police departments has anything to do with recent protests. Video at

Then there is this - "An Orlando police officer has been suspended while his department investigates his arrests of two elementary school students — one 6 years old, one 8.

The 6-year-old, a first-grader, was arrested after throwing a tantrum at school, reported WKMG-TV in Orlando.

Dennis Turner, resource officer at Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, arrested the kids last week on unrelated misdemeanor charges and sent them both to the local Juvenile Assessment Center, the station reported." Of course there is video of that hardened criminal 1st grader begging, saying she will do better. The cop, a wise veteran, is not taken in by such an obvious ploy, making sure she was handcuffed, arrested, fingerprinted, and a mugshot taken. Video at

I agree that's ridiculous, and it's worthwhile to trace the history of that sort of thing.

Here's an article about what was apparently the front end of that trend: the arrest of two seven year olds in 2001 in Connecticut ( ).

There are references to schools taking a very risk-averse approach after Columbine. Apparently these two second-graders made death threats (one toward another's parents, one toward another student).

And, there was a case in 2000 in Flint where a six year old brought a gun to school and fatally shot a classmate (also noted in the article that I linked).

It seems apt that the domestic police are more militarized as our military becomes more "humanitarian," policing the streets of foreign cities under complex rules of engagement.

When did we start needing school police anyway, and why? I think if a public school requires a police force, then it's public school itself that's the problem.

How can a conscientious parent even consider sending their child to a school that might require that kind of weaponry? How can that type of an educational environment be accepted as mandatory?

Recent riots prove that this training and vehicles are extremely necessary. Police has lost control and has been overpowered. Not with taxpayers consent.

At one time I worked in an old warehouse used for cheap office space. the building was occasionally hit be rocks fired from improvised mortars.

Can I have one? How many mpg? :-)

Considering that MS-13 operates in and around L.A. city schools, having an MRAP and high-powered weapons available is appropriate:

Those kids have mines of their own!

I agree that the MRAP is over the top for that department.

Per a 2014 article, the grenade launchers can be used with tear gas - - so I think that departments equipped to use tear gas could all be said to have "grenade launchers".

They launch various pepper gas formulations, and thus never fire tear gas grenades at all. The White house and DOJ can clear that by any interest in the subject.

The real unmentioned tragedy here is that school police officers will now be forced to buy grenade launchers out of their own pockets at the beginning of the school year. SMH.

See this

Or this

This article is from 2014

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