The Cape Girardeau County Sheriffs department has received what some might describe as a tank, but in reality is a new tool for the department to help citizens in case of emergencies. The MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) is a vehicle that would normally be seen in Iraq helping keep military personnel alive, but after nine months of anticipation and hope the department was given the MRAP through a government program.
When the department first acquired the vehicle it had a mere 20 miles on it. The MRAP which weighs about 31-tons and can carry eight to 11 people through ice, elevated water and even improvised explosive devices. Lt. Chris Hull of the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department said it did not cost anything to buy the vehicle from the military, but they did have to pay transportation costs to get the vehicle to the county.
“Our only concern is the weight and some bridges in the county that we might not possibly be able to get across. There’s going to be several people here at the sheriffs department and actually I have a couple people here already that are in the national guard and are familiar with this vehicle,” Hull said.
In Iraq the MRAP was used to help guarantee the safety of military personnel, but here the vehicle could be used for high risk incidents, such as an active shooter or delivering supplies during or after a natural disaster.
“I think it’s a very impressive machine. It is very heavy. I think if we use it one time it will be worth having, if it saves someone's life it will be worth it,” Hull said.
Although there are thousands of MRAP vehicles still available only 350 were remodeled specifically for police use before the federal government canceled the program and according to Hull the rest will be scrapped.