SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Police in Ferguson, Missouri have been using more advanced surplus military equipment to help subdue those protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.
Two months ago, the Harrison County Sheriff's Office received two five-ton trucks for emergency evacuation use from the Mississippi Office of Surplus Property.
According to some law enforcement agencies on the coast, everyday gear isn't always enough to handle the unexpected. That's why some rely on military grade equipment, as well as the help from other agencies to fight crime and save lives.
"It's important that people see us. It's important that the police cars are recognizable," said Lt. Michael Brumley with the Biloxi Police Department. "But for those situations that are uncommon, those ones that we don't know and can't prepare for all the way, we have some special purpose vehicles like this."
Brumley said sometimes the weapons and patrol cars used every day to fight crime aren't always enough. Depending on the situation, an agency may need military grade gear, vehicles and even boats.
"The needs change. We serve the public and we can't control events. We can't control the weather. We can't control a lot of situations in which people need help," said Brumley.
Several agencies on the cost have purchased military vehicles at a fraction of the actual cost from the Mississippi Office of Surplus Property. Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said the next piece of heavy equipment he wants is an armored vehicle.
"We have a lot of incidents where we call them 'police suicides.' These are people who want to commit suicide and they want the police to come in and do it for them. We need a vehicle that we can put officers in, go up to the house, and physically be able to get these people out," said Sheriff Brisolara.
But not everything can be acquired through surplus property. It has to be purchased and not every agency has the funding for expensive equipment. So the agencies rely on each other.
"There's not an agency out there that has the luxury to have every piece of equipment it really needs. Is it feasible for the Harrison County Sheriff's Office to have a bomb unit and the City of Biloxi? No. It's more feasible for the sheriff to say, 'What do y'all need that I can support you with so that y'all can help us also,'" Brisolara said.
Though they aren't used every day, these vehicles are used to help fill the void for law enforcement agencies when an usual situation occurs.