Even the current police chief has no idea why his department acquired two grenade launchers.
In a Facebook post promoting its new report on militarized police forces in the U.S., the American Civil Liberties Union mentions that the city of West Springfield, which boasts a population of under 30,000 people, has not one, but two grenade launchers courtesy of the federal government.
So MassLive asked West Springfield's current police chief, Chief Ronald P. Campurcian, for answers.
"I cannot think of a scenario where we would employ those weapons," Campurciani said.
The department obtained the launchers free of charge in the late 90s.
In 2009, then-police chief Thomas Burke told ABC40 that "you never know" when the grenade launchers could come in handy.
"The bad guys have no rules. We have all the rules," Burke said. "Don’t worry about us, we’re trained. If we need them, we’ll use them. If we don’t need them, we won’t use them."
The ACLU's Kara Dansky previously told the Huffington Post that there should be laws in place that restrict the State Department's ability to hand off military gear to local police departments so that towns like West Springfield don't end up with tools for large-scale war.
"We're hoping to see reform at all levels of government," Dansky said. "Lawmakers at every level have a role to play."