Why did police in New Orleans buy snow camouflage?

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Thursday 21 August 2014 19:50

No, it's not the start of a riddle.

But ever since events in Ferguson thrust the apparent over-militarisation of police in the US into the global limelight, a little-publicised law allowing law enforcement agencies to buy surplus military grade weaponry and equipment has been scrutinised.

The New York Times collated information from the ominously-named Programme 1033 and posted it online.

New Orleans's the Lens subsequently found that police in two counties in the city - known for its mild winters and hot, humid summers - had spent almost $3million on equipment, including:

  • Night-vision sniper scopes
  • A mine-resistant vehicle
  • 30 survival axes
  • 20 snow camouflage parkas

Uh, say again?

As the Financial Times's Martin Stabe pointed out on Twitter, between 1853 and 2008 it snowed in New Orleans on 55 days, and it only settled on 17 of them.

Money well spent? Or did officers just fancy some new paintballing outfits?

  • (Picture: Pentagon)

More: How white and black Americans see Ferguson in seven charts