First Responder Gear Sold At Auction Despite Terrorism Concern

NOTE: Legislation in regards to the sale of Police, Fire, Emergency and First Responder Gear, should be a top priority at the local, state and national level. Laws governing the sale of these items doesn’t need to be something we look back upon and say should have been implemented. If you’re a lawmaker interested in introducing this legislation, contact us.


Putting surplus equipment up for auction is a practice governments have done for decades. At times, the auctions can include uniforms, gear and other equipment used by police, fire and EMS departments. One such auction last week in the Nation’s Capital was brought to the attention of It has us asking area officials how their surplus gear disposal policies fit in with their concerns about terrorism.

In recent years, terrorism expert have pointed out the next attack on U.S. soil could come from someone posing as a first responder. DC Fire & EMS Department Assistant Chief Larry Schultz expressed similar worries as he ran the department’s efforts for the Inauguration in January.

At the time Chief Schultz told Jamie Thompson of, “Look at terrorist attacks around the world and you’re seeing the increasing use of people wearing public safety uniforms and stealing ambulances and police cars to deliver explosive devices.”

If that’s the case then why does the District of Columbia still sell its surplus fire gear at public auction?

The website shows the auction that opened on February 20 and closed on February 26 of a “huge lot of police/fire department uniforms and clothing”. The items, including fire helmets, boots and coats, were advertised as being from the Government of the District of Columbia, Personal Property Division, Surplus Property Auction.

DC Fire & EMS Department spokesman Alan Etter tells 9NEWS NOW the auction of surplus material has long been done by the DC government. Etter says the department has some concerns the fire gear is being disposed of this way, but that the intent is not to aid criminal actions.

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