ACLU targets Mass. department’s grenade launchers
West Springfield Police Department received the two M79 grenade launchers in the late 90’s through a Department of Defense excess property program
By PoliceOne Staff
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The ACLU has called into question a police department’s possession of two grenade launchers on a social media post promoting the group’s annual report.
MassLive reports that the West Springfield Police Department received the two M79 grenade launchers in the late 90’s through a Department of Defense excess property program — which supplies police agencies with equipment at no purchase fee.
The department received the launchers along with seven M14 rifles. M651 tear gas cartridges were also acquired.
The chief of police at the time of the purchase, Thomas Burke, was quoted in an interview as saying the launchers could be used in incidents such as school shootings.
In response to the social media attention, current Police Chief Ronald P. Campurciani told MassLive that the weapons had never been used in the field.
"I cannot think of a scenario where we would employ those weapons," Campurciani said.