Where does ammo go when it dies?

When citizens are looking to unload some old ammunition, they can call the local sheriff. But who can the sheriff call? Jan Griese, supervisor of property and evidence with the Hamilton (Ontario) Police Service recalls facing that dilemma. “Our ERU...

Bullets and fireworks and flares ...

When an agency stockpiles a good amount of rounds, they can schedule the eMACS truck to come do a pick up. The Peel Regional Police Service in Ontario has used Braithwaite’s burner since 2009. They’re often left wondering what to do with ammo acquired from seizures, training and stuff that is—for one reason or another—turned in by the public. When you consider anyone can turn in anything at any time—it adds up. Peel is the third largest municipal police department in Canada, with close to 2,000 officers.

The eMACS is not ammunition-exclusive. In addition to shotgun and .22 shells it can make easy work of pyrotechnics, firecrackers, pepper spray cans, marine flares and more. Peel Police Service Staff Sgt. Larry Walker did his share of research before deciding on eMACS. Now they call up Braithwaite when they need to dispose of “everything up to 50 caliber.”

In 2010 C.A.D.S. disposed of 1,270 pounds of ammo for the Peel Police Service, plus 250 marine flares. In 2011, ammo fell to 700 pounds but flares jumped to 1,030 (likely to an increased promotion of the flare program within yacht and boating clubs). “[Flare disposal’s] been a problem for many, many years,” says Walker. “There’s no real set way of doing it. A lot of places in the U.S. and in Canada basically tell boaters just go to your local police and turn them in, but they’re not really equipped to take them. [Tom] charges per flare and he charges per pound for the actual ammunition disposal, but it’s certainly cost-effective for us.”

Good work for a good reason

The eleven existing eMACS systems mostly serve law enforcement in Canada; one resides in Australia and one more was shipped out to Dubai PD. Braithwaite is now concentrating on the United States and beyond, armed with an upgraded filtration system, and having EPA and NATO requirements under his belt. In the states, C.A.D.S. has partnered with representatives of the Wounded Warrior Project to help military vets find jobs doing disposal work with the eMACS. So far, it’s been a successful endeavor. “The marines that come back from Afghanistan … if they have an injury, they’re partially blind or they’re deaf … and they can’t go back to being a bomb tech, those are the people we hire,” says Braithwaite. “They love that they can still do what they love to do and we understand their situation.”

According to Braithwaite, the eMACS concept was a hard-sell at first. But now almost everyone in Southern Ontario is either using the service, or is at least interested in learning more about it.

The bullet-burning business on wheels is easy to use, versatile and thorough in what it does, but it’s likely agencies using the service most appreciate the fact that it offers a clean alternative to an old dilemma. The “new kid in town” meets agencies’ efforts to be efficient, safe and environmentally conscious.

Where does ammo go when it dies? Let’s take a look at the possibilities …

  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to Officer.com. To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.