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APD gets free gear to outfit new facility

It has been said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

In the Andalusia Police Department’s case, that sentiment has proven true, as the APD recently received $80,000 to $100,000 in surplus equipment obtained through a government military surplus program.

That equipment will be used to equip a complete auto mechanic garage at the department’s new training facility. A U.S. Dept. of Agriculture public facilities grant will fund the construction of the center, but equipping the center was a different matter all together, said APD’s Lt. Mike Hayden.

The solution was the U.S. government’s “1033 program,” which allows law enforcement agencies to apply for federal surplus equipment at no cost to the agency.

“Basically it’s military surplus from every unit in the military,” Hayden said. “It can include things from office furniture to vehicles. In this case, we were able to get all the tools needed to completely outfit our garage at the training center.

“We were also able to give some to the city yard, who also works on our vehicles,” he said.

Hayden knew of the program through time spent in the military and knew the department could benefit from it.

“It is free from Uncle Sam,” he said. “If we had to purchase all of this equipment, it would have set us back between $80,000-$100,000. A lot of these are brand new tools — never used before that had been sitting somewhere out in the weather.

“Now that they’re here, they’re going to get used,” he said. “And that money we would have spent on tools can now go for technology and training and for a better range.”

The equipment was obtained from Eglin Air Force Base and is being stored in the old Scherf Memorial Building until the facility is complete.

The training facility, which is being constructed on 15 acres owned by the city behind Montezuma Center on Academy Drive, will also include a firing range with 20 pistol lanes and a rifle area, as well as a “shoot” house, used for close-quarters tactical training.

It will have one classroom with a capacity of 85 people, and two smaller classrooms with a capacity of 30 each. There will also be offices, restroom facilities and a garage area.

“We were even able to get some desks for the classrooms, a couple of nice couches for the lobby and some other things,” Hayden said. “This is going to be a first-class, top-notch facility.”