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      Valley police departments get surplus military weapons, equipment

      They are a small department located right along the border and like many small agencies Penitas police work with a tiny budget.

      "We really don't have the money to purchase the equipment we might need," Police Chief Roel Bermea said.

      So he got to work and applied for surplus military equipment.

      Now he was eight new rifles in his possession and he saved the department $1,500 and increased their ability to combat a growing threat to their community.

      "We take care of a lot of incoming drugs and illegal traffic, Bermea started. This equipment does help for the enforcement."

      But it TMs not all about high powered rifles and bullet proof vests.

      The La Joya Independent School District police acquired seven military vehicles that they will be able to use during and evacuation.

      "That was one of the reasons that we were awarded these items, Chief Raul Gonzalez said. We had to give an explanation as to why we needed them. We need them for rescue operations to save people's lives."

      Chief Gonzalez added, like surrounding police departments"the school district is located in a high illegal trafficking area and also acquired much need military equipment worth $380,000.

      "Trucks, weapons, cameras, filing cabinets, gear for the officers that we're about to start issuing out."

      All items they would not have been able to purchases on their own.

      "We weren't planning to budget for this material--because we probably wouldn't have been able to get it."