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Sen. Rand Paul questions Homeland Security and Fargo law enforce - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Sen. Rand Paul questions Homeland Security and Fargo law enforcement

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FARGO, N.D. -- The militarization of police forces around the country and here at home is an issue we have been focusing on for almost a year. Sunday, a potential 2016 presidential candidate blasted the Department of Homeland Security for how much they have spent on military gear for cops here in Fargo. Valley News Live looked into the comments made by Senator Rand Paul and has reaction from Fargo police.

Long before the cops clashed with protestors in Ferguson, we were examining just how much Fargo and Cass County officials were spending on military hardware. Hardware long reserved for use on the battlefield is now, being used by cops on the street. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is raising questions about the expenditures too.

The expenditures included millions of dollars for high-tech weaponry, military style tactical clothing and an armored personnel carrier, called a Bearcat. Some have likened the Bearcat to a tank and are concerned the equipment could be used against citizens.

In an interview last year the Fargo Police Department told us they see it differently.

"Our goal here is to be as prepared as possible to deal with the crime issues that either are occurring within our community or at least have the potential to occur here,” said Fargo Police Chief, Keith A. Ternes.

Speaking today on “Meet the Press” Senator Rand Paul questioned the Department of Homeland Security for wasting tax dollars, specifically eight million dollars Fargo law enforcement received in DHS funds for military gear and equipment.

"Homeland Security gave eight million dollars to Fargo to fight terrorism in Fargo, North Dakota,” said Senator Rand Paul. “And, I say, if the terrorists get to Fargo we might as well give up. I say that as a joke, but I mean, what are we doing spending eight million dollars? What are we doing sending a tank?

Rand Paul said Fargo's not alone and also questions why other rural cities in the U.S. have recently received militarized equipment.

We tried to reach out to the senator and have not yet heard a response. And, we also tried reaching out to Fargo police. They have not yet released a statement, but told us they have no knowledge of receiving eight million dollars in Homeland Security funding.

Police said they do not believe Senator Paul's statement applies to the Fargo Police Department even though he named Fargo specifically.
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