The Department of Homeland Security is purchasing hundreds of items of protective gear for its fleet of Federal Protective Service officers in order to prepare for “riot control situations,” increasing concerns that the federal agency is readying for domestic unrest.
A June 10 solicitation posted on the FedBizOpps website seeks to outfit officers working for the DHS’ Federal Protective Service, which is primarily used to guard government buildings but has also been used to spy on protesters.
As we reported last month, FPS officers were used to guard an IRS building in St. Louis during a Tea Party protest against the federal agency’s discrimination targeting conservative groups.
As GSN reports, the items the DHS is looking to acquire include the following;
– 111 Centurion CPX2500 Soft Shell Riot Control System upper body and shoulder protection, which must “effectively protect the torso and shoulders from blunt force trauma.”
– 123 Centurion TPX200 thigh/groin protection systems “designed for blunt trauma protection during riot control situations,” said the solicitation. The gear “protects the thigh area and has an adjustable and removable groin protector.”
– 110 Hatch TS70 Centurion hard shell shin guards, which must provide “substantial protection from flying debris. Non-ballistic weapons, and blows to the leg.”
– 189 MaxPro-Police riot helmets, which have a “high impact molded half shell helmet with integral visor and neck protector.”
The solicitation also includes a request for 116 pairs of tactical gloves and 128 forearm protectors. The contract includes four additional one year option periods. The equipment will be delivered to a Federal Protective Service facility in Alexandria, VA, within 45 days of the award.
The reference to “riot control situations” can be found in the “Statement of Work” file at the bottom of the solicitation.
Fears that the Department of Homeland Security is preparing for civil unrest have intensified ever since the agency began purchasing large quantities of ammunition. Having already committed to purchasing well over 1.6 billion rounds of bullets over the course of the last year, a DHS “request for information” issued last month quizzed bullet manufacturers on how fast they can supply large quantities of ammo.
The request asked ammo companies if they were capable of supplying, “large quantity orders of any training caliber specified with a short turnaround time of 30-60 days.”
Last year, the DHS hired hundreds of new FPS guards to protect government buildings across the country.
This followed a controversial drill in Florida dubbed “Operation Shield,” during which FPS agents armed with semiautomatic guns were posted outside a Social Security office in Florida. The unannounced exercise centered around “detecting the presence of unauthorized persons and potentially disruptive or dangerous activities.” Residents were forced to show identification papers to the guards during the drill.
Whether the DHS is preparing for riots targeting government buildings remains to be seen, but this will do little to dampen concerns that big government is arming itself to the teeth while Americans are being lectured about relinquishing their second amendment rights.