At first glance, it may look like a military vehicle, or even something out of a movie. North Augusta has a new crime fighting truck. News Channel Six's Dee Griffin went and checked it out today.
55 MRAP vehicles have been purchased by cities across the country to fight crime. Eight are in South Carolina. They are part of a government program to reuse military equipment. Today, we got a close look at North Augusta's newest vehicle which is anticipated to bring a new layer of protection.
North Augusta has a new weapon in the war on crime. It's called the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected. Once used to train military troops to flatten the enemy in missions overseas, it's now being used to put a dent in crime here at home. North Augusta Director of Public Safety John Thomas explains, "In the event we have an active shooter, we can roll that vehicle. It can be used as a rescue vehicle."
It was purchased through the Law Enforcement Support Office also called the 1033 program. The mammoth machine comes with an equally large price tag of 685-thousand dollars. But the Director of Public Safety says the city used drug money, not tax payers dollars, to purchase the vehicle.
He also says flooding like we saw over the summer will pose no match to the MRAP which will then go into a battle to rescue people when water becomes the enemy. "If need be if that event ever occurs again, we have some type of inclement weather, we can use that vehicle to get personnel to where they need to be or rescue someone who is in danger," Director Thomas says.
While the MRAP is getting rave reviews from Public Safety, it's raising eyebrows among local residents. Brenda Smith simply said, "WOW!"
Bob Scoggins added, "I'm a little bit shocked that they actually think they need that and to fight crime in North Augusta?"
When asked what he thought of seeing it rolling down the street, Chris Hobbs responded, "I hope I'm on the right side of the road, or the law anyway."
As the MRAP gets mixed reaction, North Augusta Public Safety hopes their new weapon will make criminals think twice before striking once. "If you go back and look at some of these incidents around the country people think it won't happen. But it definitely does," concludes Director Thomas.
The MRAP will now get painted and outfitted for use by the North Augusta Public Safety. Don't be surprised if you see the MRAP in other areas across the CSRA. North Augusta Public Safety says local law enforcement agencies can borrow it when needed.
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