Bouncy castles and bowling pins: The odd and hilarious things the Pentagon is giving to local law enforcement

The Department of Defense applies a broad definition of "military gear" when it makes surplus items available to local law enforcement via its excess property program. In addition to combat vehicles and assault rifles, police departments have obtained everything from karaoke machines to bouncy castles through the DoD program, free of charge.

Below, an incomplete list of some of the oddest things to show up in the DoD's database of transferred items since 2006, along with their listed dollar values and the county of the law enforcement agency they were sent to. Do note that the photos are stock images from Flickr, not pictures of the actual items.

Nine BMX Rollerskate Helmets, valued at $45 each.


This man should be wearing a helmet. Photo via Flickr user Nathan Rupert, used under a Creative Commons license.

Delivered to - where else? - Los Angeles County, California in 2012.

Bowling ball glow pins, box of ten, valued at $115.


Photo via Flickr user Garry Wilmore, used under a Creative Commons license.

Law enforcement officials in Grant County, WV, were in the mood for some midnight madness bowling in 2012.

One bouncy castle, with blower, valued at $500.


Photo via Flickr user bentleywg, used under a Creative Commons license.

Everybody loves a bouncy castle, especially the police force in Genesee County, Michigan.

One VCR player for personal/home use, valued at $195.


Photo via Flickr user HeatherMG, used under a Creative Commons license.

DVDs are overrated, anyway - ain't that right, Jones County, NC?

Two complete karaoke sets, valued at $2,400.


Photo via Flickr user Jimmy Alvarez, used under a Creative Commons license.

Delivered to Whatcom County, WA in 2012.

Two cornets, two saxophones, one euphonium, one alto horn, two flugelhorns, a clarinet in e flat, two tenor trombones, and three sets of cymbals, valued at over $13,000


Photo via Flickr user Bob Travis, used under a Creative Commons license.

Trumbull County, OH is ready to join the band.

Smokers' articles and matches, two, valued at $0


Photo via Flickr user John Hicks, used under a Creative Commons license.

Delivered to San Diego County in 2014.

One arm wrestling bench, valued at $200


Photo via Flickr user Fabio Venni, used under a Creative Commons license.

The police department is over the top in Weld County, CO.

136 clock radios, valued at $8 each.


Photo via Flickr user Luke Roberts, used under a Creative Commons license.

Nobody will ever be late in Orange County, CA again.

7,500 pairs of mens' drawers, valued at $1.92 each


Photo via Flickr user John Sullivan, used under a Creative Commons license.

Delivered to Fulton County, GA in 2012.

One hot dog machine, valued at $150.


Photo via Flickr user TheCulinaryGeek, used under a Creative Commons license.

Delivered to Maricopa County, AZ in 2012.

10 sets of ballistic dog goggles, valued at $20 each.


Photo by Flickr user Hammerin Man, used under a Creative Commons license.

Man's best friend is well-protected in Napa Valley, CA.

Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.
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