Wars creating ammo shortage for NJ police

Decrease in supply has led to rising costs and longer wait times for cash-strapped police departments


Associated Press

NEW JERSEY - With the U.S. at war on two fronts in the Middle East, local law enforcement agencies are feeling the squeeze when they go to order ammunition.

A decrease in supply has led to rising costs and longer wait times for police departments whose tightening budgets already have forced them to make personnel cutbacks.

Experts tell Gannett New Jersey it has yet to become a safety issue. But rising costs and a decreased supply have put a burden on law enforcement to stockpile ammunition, and that can be a problem during lean economic times.

Some orders take a year to fill, forcing towns to make larger orders to compensate.

Mitchell C. Sklar, head of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, told the news service that one town made a bigger order with the expectation that it would arrive over a span of 18 months. But when it arrived all at once, local officials were faced with a bill that exceeded their budget.

Police chiefs around the state spoke of rising costs and long waits to get ammunition.

"We used to spend between $12,000 to $13,000 a year but now it's around $16,000 to $18,000," Hazlet Police Chief James A. Broderick told the news service.

Some chiefs said orders take a minimum of six months to get filled, and often take up to a year.

Fairfield Police Chief Charles Voelker said departments used to be able to borrow ammunition from neighboring towns while waiting for orders to arrive, but no more.

"We are all in the same predicament and cannot afford to lend any, since there is uncertainty as to when you can repay what you borrowed," he said.

Lacey Township Police Chief William Nally recently told a budget workshop meeting that ammunition prices have doubled for his department. He told the news service that he expects prices to rise up to 35 percent for some ammunition.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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