Criminal Justice

Police departments in Indiana snap up armored military vehicles at bargain prices


image

A rendering of a mine-resistant ambush
protected vehicle. Image from Shutterstock.

The bargain was too good to pass up.

The sheriff’s office in Johnson County, Indiana, paid just a fraction of the original $733,000 price when it purchased a 55,000 pound, six-wheel, heavy-armored vehicle, the Indianapolis Star reports. Sheriff Doug Cox estimates the department paid about $5,000 to buy the vehicle from military surplus.

Cox’s office is one of eight law enforcement agencies in Indiana that have purchased mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, known as MRAPs, since 2010, the story says. The military surplus vehicles, designed for battlefields in Iraq or Afghanistan, are sold for the cost of delivery.

The newspaper says such purchases raise questions about “the militarization of civilian police departments. Will it make police inappropriately aggressive? Does it blur the line between civilian police and the military?”

The sheriff’s office in Pulaski County also purchased an MRAP. Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer cited the benefits in an interview with the newspaper.

“The United States of America has become a war zone,” he said. “There’s violence in the workplace, there’s violence in schools and there’s violence in the streets. You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract. If driving a military vehicle is going to protect officers, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

There is another benefit, he said. “It’s a lot more intimidating than a Dodge.”

Hat tip to the Business Insider.

See also:

ABA Journal: “How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?”

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