MASON CITY | A 24½-ton armored military vehicle designed to withstand bomb blasts is joining the arsenal of equipment at the Mason City Police Department.
The six-wheel-drive MRAP (mine-resistant ambush-protected) vehicle arrived in Mason City near the end of March, Capt. Mike McKelvey of the MCPD said Friday.
It was made available through the Federal Excess Property Management Program, a military recycling program. The vehicles were designed for use in Iraq to to help protect troops from mines and improvised explosive devices, according to the Department of Defense.
The DOD ordered 27,000 of the vehicles at a cost of $500,000 to $1 million each, according to the Associated Press.
The vehicles were credited with saving countless lives and soldiers so loved the lumbering tan beasts that many of them scrawled notes of thanks on the armor plating.
With the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan winding down, many of the vehicles are no longer needed for active military missions.
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"It is on loan to us," McKelvey said.
The vehicle remains the property of the Department of Defense, being loaned out to law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes, McKelvey said.
Because the vehicle was loaned, there was no acquisition cost.
"At any time the DOD can recall the vehicle," McKelvey said. "We do expect some minor costs to equip it with flashing lights" and for maintenance needs.
"The new MRAP provides us more options to respond to dangerous incidents than what we previously had," McKelvey said. "The MRAP may also be used to assist ... other law enforcement agencies on high-risk incidents."
The Police Department has also received on loan other Department of Defense equipment in recent years, including military rifles and night vision equipment, McKelvey said.