ATLANTA -- The southeast Georgia town of Bloomingdale is tiny but well armed.
Metro Atlanta police departments and sheriff's offices have armored trucks and personnel carriers in their arsenals.
And the Carroll County Sheriff's Office has in its possession four grenade launchers should there be a need to send canisters of tear gas or bean bags into a volatile situation.
All donated surplus military equipment is available to law enforcement agencies nationwide -- large and small.
Some people are upset that there are local law enforcement agencies armed with such weapons of war. But the agencies that got the guns, armored vehicles and grenade launchers say it sends a message to would-be criminals: Officers "are armed to meet any threat," so criminals should just stay away, said Bloomingdale Police Chief Roy Pike.
"Having the equipment precludes having to use it," Pike said. "In the 20 years I've been here, we haven't had to use deadly force against anybody."
From the so-called 1033 program operated by a U.S. Department of Defense unit, Pike's department of 13 officers acquired a grenade launcher for shooting tear gas, two M14 single-shot semi-automatic rifles and two M16 military-style rifles converted to semi-automatic from automatic.
The Defense Department established the 1033 program in the late 1990s to provide state and local law enforcement agencies with weapons, helicopters, armored vehicles, body armor, night-vision equipment, surveillance equipment and protective gear.
It also provides such things as surplus .45-caliber handguns and first-aid supplies.
Several local law enforcement officials said if their agencies had to buy the stuff, they'd just do without most of it. But since it's donated, they find a place for it.