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North Augusta Public Safety Department gets armored vehicle

Police say item can be useful in certain situations

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 5:01 PM
Last updated Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 1:36 AM
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A $658,000 ex-military armored vehicle that can be used during shootings or high floodwaters is now the property of North Augusta Department of Public Safety.

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A $658,000 ex-military, armored vehicle that can be used in the event of an active shooter or high floodwaters is now the property of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety.  BIANCA CAIN JOHNSON/STAFF
BIANCA CAIN JOHNSON/STAFF
A $658,000 ex-military, armored vehicle that can be used in the event of an active shooter or high floodwaters is now the property of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety.


“We have to be proactive,” said Chief John Thomas. “We hope and pray we won’t need that kind of vehicle, but we don’t have that reassurance.”

In recent weeks, two mass shootings have occurred across the nation. At least 12 people were killed at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16. Three days later, 13 people were injured at a Chicago park.

Thomas said the department needs to be prepared in case of such situations.

The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle came to the department through its membership to the Law Enforcement Support Office, also known as the 1033 Program, which is connected to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency.

The department has held a membership since the 1990s. For an annual membership fee of $1,000, the agency has acquired more than $1 million in equipment and property from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lt. Tim Thornton said the MRAP vehicle is the most expensive item they have acquired.

Items obtained over the years include M-16 rifles, aim point weapon sights, chain saws, rifle magazines, extrication tools, weapon-mounted flashlights and firefighter apparel.

About 55 agencies throughout the country received an MRAP vehicle through the program.

North Augusta police pay their fee with confiscated illegal drug money. The fee is the only cost associated with any equipment obtained through the program.

The agency did pay to have the MRAP transported by trailer from Fort Bragg, N.C., last week with more confiscated drug money.

“The irony of it all is we pay membership fees with illegal drug seizures, so illegal drug activity is paying for this,” Thornton said.

Thomas said he does not expect the maintenance costs to be very high. North Augusta’s vehicle has been used by the military since 2008, has gone about 5,000 miles and is fully bulletproof. The vehicle has seats suspended by rope with adjustable harnesses that protect occupants if it hits a land mine and becomes airborne.

The vehicle has been gutted of military equipment, and public safety has more to do, including a new paint job, before it’s ready for use. Several members of the SWAT team also have to be trained to drive it.

Police said the armored vehicle would have been useful in several cases over the past year, including the extreme rain the area saw over the summer. The vehicle can easily navigate through moving water higher than three feet.

Last year, public safety dealt with an armed barricaded suspect in a heavily populated apartment complex. Police said the vehicle would have been the preferred choice to approach the building, communicate with the shooter or deploy tear gas. Instead, the SWAT team used hand-held shields. The gunman did open fire, but no one was injured.

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my.voice
4914
Points
my.voice 09/24/13 - 07:43 am
2
0
“The irony of it all is we

“The irony of it all is we pay membership fees with illegal drug seizures so illegal drug activity is paying for this,”

No, the irony of this is the NAPSD doesn't need this vehicle. Another waste of money.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 09/24/13 - 09:12 am
2
0
LOL.....this has got to be a
Unpublished

LOL.....this has got to be a joke. Or not?

LLArms
470
Points
LLArms 09/24/13 - 09:54 am
2
0
Don't forget all you sheep -

Don't forget all you sheep - our police need military equipment. /sarcasm

Sweet son
10729
Points
Sweet son 09/24/13 - 10:18 am
1
0
I agree!

It looks like over kill; some humor intended but it is a bit much. Also, why waste money on paint? When the public needs help they won't care what color the help vehicle is!

gaflyboy
5035
Points
gaflyboy 09/30/13 - 12:22 am
2
0
Obama told us about this in July 2008

"We cannot rely only on our military ... We've got to have a CIVILIAN NATIONAL SECURITY FORCE that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded."

This has been going on around the country for some time now. Earlier this year, Homeland Security purchased over 2700 of these vehicles. Not to mention Congress investigating their stockpiling 2 billion rounds of ammunition.

You know, there are a lot of gun toting, bible thumping, patriotic terrorists around.

And really; how much need is there for a 15 ton "Mine Resistant Ambush Protected" vehicle in North Augusta? Have any of the mass shootings referred to involved mines or anyone ambushing a military vehicle?

Wake up folks ... or get used to seeing more.

Riverman1
86773
Points
Riverman1 09/30/13 - 05:22 am
3
0
Flat Belly Wagon Better

They would have been better off getting a flat belly wagon and a team of horses from the Aiken Horse Rescue shelter. Enough of spending OTHER government money just because you can. No one considers the upkeep costs on the vehicle when they jump at the money.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 09/30/13 - 05:54 am
2
0
Barney Fife and his

Barney Fife and his motorcycle. Put radar on it and patrol Martintown Rd. Gonna be hard to hide in a church parking lot though.

Dixieman
15888
Points
Dixieman 09/30/13 - 06:11 am
2
0
It will pay for itself

Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon let kids ride in it for $1.00 with a police officer driving and in six months it will be turning a profit.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 09/30/13 - 06:33 am
0
0
And the eco friendly bus. No bus route. No need for a bus.
Unpublished

And the eco friendly bus. No bus route. No need for a bus.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 09/30/13 - 06:34 am
0
0
And we rant about the free loading entitlement crowd. LOOK!!
Unpublished

And we rant about the free loading entitlement crowd. LOOK!!

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 09/30/13 - 08:12 am
1
0
You might need it one day

I think we have enough idiots to go around....some will find their way to S Carolina one day....keep it & use the dang thing!

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