Critics question military vehicle given to St. Charles Co. deputies

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by Ray Preston / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 5:35 AM

(KMOV.com) – The Department of Homeland Security recently donated an armored vehicle to the St. Charles Sheriff’s Department and critics are contending it sends the wrong message.

The sheriff’s department recently received an Armored Response Personal Vehicle (MRAP), which is armored but not armed. It is a 22 ton truck that can traverse through snow and flood waters. It also possesses six-wheel drive.  The vehicle was built for the military, but was not used.

Several St. Charles County residents voiced their concerns at a recent county commission meeting.

"If that does not alarm anyone then they don't understand the United States of America very well," one resident said.

Joe Brazil who represents the county’s second district on the county council voted against accepting the MRAP because he thinks it should be used by the military, not by police.

"Those are some true concerns. You don't want to over-militarize your sheriff's department with armored vehicles and tanks or what not. We already have one vehicle like that. How many vehicles do you really need?" Brazil said.

Captain Dave Todd, who is the sheriff’s department Special Forces Bureau Commander said the MRAP will primarily be used in rescues. He also said the department has a similar truck that is smaller and has limitations the MRAP does not.

“It sits very high it can drive over debris,” Todd said. “If anybody saw Joplin, you couldn't get down the roadways, nothing will stop this on the roadways. We have floods, we have flash floods and fire trucks don't float and neither do patrol cars.”

Some critics are also concerned about the cost of upkeep. Todd told News 4 the vehicle is new and came with spare parts. Todd said each of the tires cost $2,300 but the department also received 18 spare tires.

St. Charles County is not allowed to sell the MRAP or give it away. If the county does not want to use it, it must return it to the federal government.

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