They wore body armor, stood in front of a Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck (known as a BearCat), and would have been mistaken for soldiers if they weren't wearing "Police" patches, as Business Insider's Paul Szoldra wrote.
This is just one of America's highly militarized police forces, as detailed in a sobering report from the American Civil Liberties Union that came out in June. That report reveals how the U.S. military transfers a shocking amount of military-grade equipment to local cops who often misuse these tools.
The Defense Department gives this military-grade equipment to cops through its 1033 program, which has the motto "From Warfighter to Crimefighter." The idea is that police can repurpose equipment once used on the battlelines to fight the drug war and terrorists at home.
Back in 1990, the military transferred only about $1 million worth equipment through this program, according to the ACLU. That number ballooned to nearly $450 million by 2013, suggesting America's police officers are militarized than ever. The problem with this shift is that military-grade equipment can pack more punch than local cops really need.