By on September 4, 2013

mrap

The rural communities surrounding Nashville, TN are quiet, unremarkable places. We know: we’ve been there. But now the city of Gallatin will be confronting its citizens with a $658,000 armored military vehicle that, like many of the young men in this country’s increasingly militarized police forces, has seen serious action.

Overseas, the “MRAP” is the symbol of American power on the move, a bizarrely self-parodying vehicle that attempts to encase its soft-shelled occupants from a world full of people who despise us and who will, increasingly, sacrifice their own lives to take ours. Nothing quite says “Us And Them” like rolling in an MRAP. It was developed for a world where everyone outside its reinforced-steel walls is a subhuman enemy to be killed at will.

So what does it say that four of the cities around Nashville are pleased as punch to take delivery of one?


Gallatin claims that they participate in about fifteen SWAT exercises a year. According to the local police,

“Even the common hunter knows the penetration power of most of the hunting rounds so we didn’t have anything to protect the officers while we’re deploying gas or doing hostage negotiations,”… When you compare it to the customized 1980s military ambulance they have now with ballistic blankets only one side the MRAP is 360-degrees of reinforced protection. It’s almost like they’re going from a horse and buggy to a space ship. Master Patrol Officer James McFadden worked on MRAPs as a military mechanic and now will here at home as well. “It’s so much better just knowing that there’s all this protection in between us and somebody trying to hurt us,” McFadden said while taking us on a ride along Friday.

Again, this isn’t Watts or Chicago or Jo-mother-fuckin-’hanneburg. (Warning: clicking that link at work will simultaneously expose you to first-class rap and render you COMPLETELY UNEMPLOYED.) It’s Gallatin, Tennessee. Hendersonville, Mufreesboro and Lewisburg are the other towns in the area to take delivery. Your humble author has been all around Murfreesboro. It’s not the best neighborhood in the South but I’ve never felt that I needed to add anti-mine protection to my Town Car. It’s also, apropos of nothing, the home of light-pop songstress Angela Ammons and her production company. (You can watch that video with no risk to anything but your heart, and possibly your musical/aesthetic sense.)

While surely nobody wants the police in this country to be inadequately protected, one has to wonder about what happens when you take young men who have already suffered through America’s foreign adventures, put them in the same kind of truck they used back in Afghanistan, and tell them to patrol the neighborhood and/or respond to a situation. Surely it will do nothing to heal the division between the police and the public they are supposed to serve and protect. One also has to wonder if their opponents on the other side of the blue line, many of whom are perfectly aware from personal experience of what it takes to knock an MRAP out of commission, won’t simply raise the stakes as well. The victim in this proposed Kandahar-level firefight will be the same person who was the victim in Iraq and Afghanistan: the man, woman, and child on the street.

Only this time, the street is right there in Tennessee.

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156 Comments on ““Like Waking Up On Christmas Morning and Having The Best Present You Ever Had”...”


  • avatar
    stevelyon

    There was one of these at Cars & Coffee in Irvine a few weeks back; they’re positively enormous. The ridiculous scale of them just can’t be appreciated in photos.

  • avatar

    I bet they park them wherever they please, too.

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      Including on top of legally parked cars. At least these will be almost completely ineffective for sitting in the middle of the street as a speed trap

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      ughhh, I officially dub Ronnie S. the Rain Man of illegal police parking.

      I saw a NJ State trooper pulling over a NJ Transit Bus for speeding (like, way faster than normal 80MPH speeding; he was hanging with me at 90) on the Turnpike last weekend. Should warm the cockels of you dark and po-po hate filled heart.

      • 0 avatar
        bk_moto

        Huh, I would have thought those things would be governed to a more reasonable speed (or even just flat out incapable of reaching 90).

        There is a great video on YouTube of an NJSP trooper behind a car that is dawdling in the left lane of the Turnpike. NJ is rather more strict about keeping right except to pass than many other states (I wish others would be more strict). The trooper lights the guy up and shadows him as the guy moves over from the far left to the far right lane. Once the guy gets into the far right lane, the trooper moves back to the left lane, kills the lights, and floors it. That man (or woman) is an American hero.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Nothing gives you the heebeejeebees quite like constant talk of war only to find that war machines are being glorified in seemingly ordinary municipal settings…

  • avatar
    Omnifan

    They were great fun to buy 7 years ago, when we couldn’t get enough. We’d get a call around 5 PM saying “How many can we buy with $xxxM?” Mind you, there were SEVEN producers of these monsters. So, we’d work all night to come up with a plan. Sent it to the Pentagon and in the morning, we’d be told how many of each we were to buy. Marines only got one manufacturer’s vehicle, so the Army/Air Force/SO folks got a mix and match of the other six types. What fun.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Yup. And now it’s a logistics nightmare for the DoD, because the need to get these things ASAP meant that they had to buy seven different vehicle models that do the same job but have incompatible parts and supply chains. It doesn’t help that the budget is shrinking and the massive size of these things makes them unusable on terrain rougher than the Iraqi desert. So the DoD is getting rid of many of them, and one of the means of doing that is to give them for free to any small town police force that’s dumb enough to take delivery.

      My prediction is that either
      a) the thing will stay parked all the time due to its horrendous fuel economy, or
      b) it will be used regularly until some fragile part will break and spares will be unobtainable.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        It’s not like these will be used to give people tickets, fuel economy really isn’t a concern when measures requiring this level of force are needed.
        And as long as originality and perfection is never a necessity, these vehicles will never have problems with parts, anything can be made for fees that pale in comparison to it’s overall worth, or even retrofitted.

      • 0 avatar
        Windy

        The upkeep costs and the costs from the damage they will do to secondary roads as well as fuel bills will I expect mean they will become rusting monuments to the folly that is the growth of SWAT departments in forces that should never have established them… While a case can be made for SWAT forces in our largest metropolitan areas they are not needed in the suburban sprawl about smaller cities and towns… Do we want average law abiding members of the public to fear jack booted dressed in black “special” police?

        Black is a bad choice of uniform color for people who we look to. “To Serve and Protect”. As is the whole paramilitary turn out no matter what color they wear.

        Heavy duty military mounts like the MRAPV have no place in our cites and towns the creeping militarization of the police in the USA worries me more than any other change to our social fabric.

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          Pictures of fat police department officers playing soldier and brandishing weapons and vehicles of war are popping up everywhere. They live some G.I. Joe fantasy and see the general public as a target rather than as their clients. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t read about yet another SWAT attack on the wrong house or deadly force used in situations that didn’t merit it. WTF has happened to my country?

        • 0 avatar
          JaySeis

          Yep, 15-20 years from now they’ll be dinosaurs and spares will kill the police budgets.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I don’t get where this idea comes from, go to any beach town you will see several of the old WW2 large multifuel trucks with private owners having fun with them, go around farms, you’ll see the same thing but instead being used to haul, on a good day these will manage 3mpg quite literally.
            Parts simply aren’t a problem what few things that may break that aren’t fixable with a little CNC/welding are easily fixable in other ways, there’s nothing about these complicated enough to cause massive amounts of money to repair.
            I don’t agree with police having a need for them, but weak arguments are weak either way, farmers aren’t exactly making the big bucks.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “MRAPV have no place in our cites and towns”

          Neither do artillery pieces but they’re at parks and memorials throughout the country.

          That’s all this is after the boys get a few hoots burning of a couple tanks of diesel.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles

    So these local PDs are encountering land mines and ambushes on a regular basis? I read the article and I still don’t understand what’s happening in small town TN to justify this vehicle.

  • avatar
    carr1on

    The militarization of Police forces in this country is a major concern. Radley Balko has written exhaustively on this topic. Check him out on HuffPo (yes, after the sideboobs).

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      This.

      As ordinary police amass military-grade weapons, it’s inevitable that they’ll find the need to use them. Witness the growing number of military-style raids on private homes — some of which aren’t even being resisted by the homeowner — and the growing number of citizens killed when police taser them.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        … or, sigh, create the need.

        Lets remember, now that Obama “Cheech” and Holder “Chong” are planning to let the those filthy weed smoking hippies off with a severe tut-tut, we’ll need to find brave new ways to keep the for profit prisons full of minorities.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        But on the other hand, we’ve had an unprecedented proliferation of heavier-duty guns spreading among the civilian population. In effect, we’ve been up-arming the population, while offering criminals free access to ever more powerful and efficient weapons. Isn’t it inevitable that law enforcement has to up-armor its force, too?

        And it doesn’t stop with guns. A decade ago, some enterprising malcontent built a tank out of a large backhoe and tore through a small Colorado town like a twister. Someone’s got to be prepared to stop that, right?

        You can probably judge a country, and a people, by the arms carried by the local police. I don’t like what this is saying about us. But on a more pragmatic level, it just seems like another case of war surplus dumping. Many of these MRAPS were simply scuttled and abandoned in Iraq, not worth bringing home.

        • 0 avatar
          Les

          The ‘heavier-duty’ guns spreading among the civilian population have always been used in the smallest percentage of gun-related crimes in the US, so that’s a wash.

          As for the incident you describe, I don’t remember anything about a backhoe.. but I do remember something with a bulldozer.

          As I recall it started when the owner of a muffler shop had a plot of land right next to him re-zoned for a large cement-producing plant. The owner of the plant was owed many, many local political favors so all the muffler-shop owner’s pleas fell on deaf ears even though the plant’s construction cut-off his highway access and his sewer lines.

          The muffler-man continued pushing city-hall, could he get the roadworks department to come in and make him a new access road? No. Could he have permission to build one himself with this bulldozer he’d just rented? No. Could he at least get a new sewer-line installed? No.

          Then they fined him for operating a business without a working sewer-line, the line cut by the nearby cement-plant.

          So, Muffler-man parked his Komatsu in the shop, and out came ‘Killdozer’.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think it’s a bunch of rednecks who want a cool truck to play with

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      @carr1on -. You nailed it.

      It’s not paranoia to remark on the objective fact that municipal police forces across the U.S. are and have been on a rapid pace of militarization for decades, and this will only continue.

      On a somewhat related note, it’s worth mentioning that the Department of Homeland Security, which has been on a military grade weapons & ammunition buying spree of epic proportion lately, started with a budget of 5 billion USD back in 2001, and now is funded to the tune of 60 billion USD annually, 12 years later.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        And the latest and greatest with that department is that we can pay a convenient $85 fee for the privilege of keeping our shoes on as we pass through airport security.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        you’d think with a budget that big they’d use it for something more useful.. like converting LHD amphibious assault carriers into mobile search-and-rescue hospitals and giving them to the Coast Guard in the North Altantic and the Bering Sea.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    And why do they need a armoured vehicle that is more capable than the ones used in Belfast where the police have been targeted? Is it really that bad in the Nashville area?

    I am guessing the tourism promoters in Nashville will not be using pictures of these beasts in their brochures

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Makes you wonder who the paranoid ones really are. Or is there something going down that we are unaware of?

      • 0 avatar
        dash riprock

        Do not know what problem this could be the solution to. Will this make the inhabitants of troubled neighbourhoods feel more confident in the police….doubt it

        • 0 avatar
          Hillman

          Nothing says officer friendly like a military vehicle like the one we use to occupy other countries with. Bad idea on so many levels.

          • 0 avatar
            dash riprock

            In Belfast they have armoured land rovers. There is an striking different feeling you get as you walk up to one on the street compared to a crown vic.

            I think I would avoid any city that felt the need to use these beasts

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      All the more interesting when you consider the fact that it is at least somewhat likely a Cop in Belfast could encounter an IED since the IRA has been known to use them unlike here in the US.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    I don’t think it helps relations one bit between the local police and the civilian population to be driving around in one of these monsters.
    Anti-mine protection…what is this country turning into..some kind of a paranoid version of South Africa or a banana republic?

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Really? REALLY? This is needed on the streets of America? What the effing hell… when did we turn into a nation of cowards willing to militarize our police to the point they have MINE RESISTANT AMBUSH PROTECTION vehicles?

    .

  • avatar
    Atomicblue

    MRAPs are comeing back here to the states into the law enforcement community not because they necessarily need them. The issue is we have thousands of these things in Afghanistan and we don’t want to chop (in huge griding machines) ALL of them up. Most are meeting this fate, some get sent back to the states where there may be some use gained from them. We don’t send them all back because the logistics is just not cost effective.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      In that case, where is the auction held so I can bid?

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        No need to bid, it’s all free! It’s called the DoD Excess Property Program (or the “1033 Program” for short, after some section of some act that authorized it). With sequestration cramping the operations budget, the DoD is decommissioning more equipment than usual, and if you’re a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency you get a crack at it before it goes to the big chipper-shredder that they fed all the F-14 Tomcats into (or whatever scrapping contractor that the service in question uses).

        The Gallatin Police Department’s procurement guy must have let his “ooh shiny!” instinct get the better of him before he realized how much this thing will cost them in diesel, but that’s hardly rare among police departments.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          So these will be showing up at the local police auction once they can’t figure out what to do with them? Saweet.

          • 0 avatar
            aristurtle

            Unfortunately the terms of the program stipulate that the equipment cannot be resold, presumably to prevent underfunded police departments from raiding their local NG bases for unused equipment and then selling it for a quick buck. (This is either some uncharacteristically astute thinking ahead from the DoD or a reaction to some fiasco that actually happened that I can’t find documentation of.)

            Also, the receiving organization is responsible for all costs associated with the equipment, including disposal.

            The DoD is notoriously loath to sell decommissioned military equipment to the general public. It’s disappointing — if you want a demilitarized tank as your hobby car (for instance) it’s easier to import a former Soviet T-55 than to legitimately obtain an old Patton.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Buy military surplus at your own risk. The DoD, and the Navy in particular, have been seizing old equipment which had been legally purchased, mostly from DoD auctions and doing it WITHOUT COMPENSATION!!

            The worst examples are totally demilitarized aircraft which are worth big bucks, cost huge dollars to restore, and are often owned by non profit historical groups and museums.

            Keep it up, wise guys.

          • 0 avatar
            aristurtle

            The Navy is (somewhat justifiably) paranoid right now about F-14 parts getting around, L.

            But it wouldn’t surprise me greatly if a police department got a whole bunch of free used Toughbooks, say, and then absent-mindedly mixed them in with the Toughbooks they bought directly, and then both the DoD surplus and the direct-sale surplus ended up getting sold at the same police auction. Sounds like a nightmare to audit that sort of thing.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            F14 parts are not the issue at all. WW2 restored aircraft sitting in museums are the real issue. The aviation community has a few kooks, but the majority is very understanding of anything even remotely likely to be a real concern. The joke is that militarily most ww2 antiques can be outperformed by easily modified, cheaper to obtain, civilian aircraft that are easily stolen if you want to cause mayhem. Furthermore, outside of third world stink holes, more damage can be done more effectively using a truck or airliner.

            Compare OK City with any light aircraft into building incident or air attack ever.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Couldn’t the US-sponsored Afghan military use them?

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        maybe the Afghan Army can’t be trusted to hang on to them.

        • 0 avatar
          Brad2971

          Unless they get the gumption and the resources to put them on a ship in some Pakistani harbor, I’m not that worried about the Afghans letting equipment sit and rot. Nor the Iraqis, for that matter.

          In fact, one thing that needs to end for at least the next 10 years is all military surplus weapons/equipment sales to local governments. Keep it in the foreign military sales channel, I say. It’s been proven to be easier to deal with the newly armed foreign thug than it is to deal with a local LEO that molests the citizenry with the latest surplus cool toys from DOD.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    The very last thing you’ll ever find me doing is mentioning a political party, at least a part of which has raised paranoia to a fine art, the better to exploit and manipulate the citizenry. As I said, you certainly won’t find me doing that.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Good, because then you’d be a fool, suckered by a bogus “us vs. them” mentality into supporting this sort of status quo.

      Instead, you should mention that, though a majority of statists are found in one of the major political parties, it’s by no means an overwhelming majority. And explain how it’s possible to be either a liberal, or a conservative, and at the same time oppose the overwhelming police state.

      Otherwise, as I said, you’d be a sucker.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        What I can’t figure out is how come the statist wings of both parties seem to be the most attractive to independent voters. What is up with that?

        • 0 avatar
          noreaster

          That’s easy. It would be trite to just say “money”, so let’s say business and media. The most powerful media by far is national in scope, so the more things are decided at the Federal level, the more influence they wield. As for business, well, consider that of the money borrowed and/or printed in recent years ends up as stock market gains, and you can see the appeal of a bloated Fed. Business dollars and media influence == advertising, and advertising influences independent voters.

        • 0 avatar
          darkwing

          My theory is that the majority of independent voters are disinterested in politics, but very interested in keeping the good times rolling and the government checks coming in. So the “don’t worry, we got this” wings of both parties are pretty attractive to them.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      @Jeff

      Leave the Dems and their race cards out of this. please. They’re only instilling paranoia for the greater cause of Social Justice.

      Besides, only a small majority of their senators voted to invade Iraq.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    While I am concerned about militarization of police forces, I am not concerned about these toys. I suspect they get them at a discount, and they may need protection from shooters at some point. Better they safely sit and listen to the rounds bounce off than start responding with massive return fire.

    Frankly, I am more worried about the black SWAT uniforms than these things.

    The storming of homes really needs to stop. Maybe these trucks could reduce those episodes?

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    “When you compare it to the customized 1980s military ambulance they have now with ballistic blankets only one side the MRAP is 360-degrees of reinforced protection. It’s almost like they’re going from a horse and buggy to a space ship.”

    It terms of survivability, I’d rather be shot at while riding a horse and buggy than if I was in a spaceship ! (I know I’m taking his quote out of context, but the whole use-a-tank-to-subdue-a-drunk-ex-husband scenario seems to be totally out of context).

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Exactly. In IZ, traveling in a fast-moving, lightweight, unarmored HMMWV was ‘always’ preferable to being in a slow-moving, heavily armored one.

      Of course, so many dumbasses managed to roll the lightweight ones (and kill themselves in the process), that the planners decided to up-armor everything for ‘safety’.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    Highly recommended book by Radley Balko:

    http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Warrior-Cop-Militarization-Americas/dp/1610392116

    Bet the SWAT team that raided the animal shelter in Wisconsin to seize a baby deer is jealous.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Great. Just. Great.

    Thanks a bunch, internet.

    This will set off another stream of paranoid conspiracy theory emails and weird you-tube videos from my octogenarian father down in Oceania.

    I need to find someone to surreptitiously break his internet. Anyone know if there’s a version of “Geek Squad”, like a “Break Squad”, for people with this problem?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It’s not paranoid if they really are out to get you. In this case, as the story noted, for SWAT actions. They may have only 6 a year in TN, but nationwide, there were 60,000-plus SWAT actions in 2012. That’s an average of over 160 every night, usually at 2-3 AM, and not all are for dangerous criminals, though they calim most are drug raids where they fear drug evidence will be flushed down the toilet.

      The federal Education Department actually has a SWAT team that raided a guy’s house, terrorizing his two kids, because his ex-wife hadn’t paid off her student loan, and they thought she MIGHT be there! There were no drug involved there, but they fired the grenades and broke down the door anyway.
      Driving one of these vehicles into the house would be even faster than the battering ram, and cause even more damage.

      Most of these actions are to serve search warrants, where in the past, they’d knock on the door at a reasonable hour and give the home owner a chance to read the warrant and give permission. Now it’s flash-bang grenades through the windows and the front door busted down with a battering ram in the middle of the night, with everyone in the house forced face-down on the floor with guns pointed at their heads, while the house is ransacked, not “searched”. One SWAT commander said his men would not be stopped, even if they had to tear the house down!

      If you think worrying about the militarization of the police is paranoid, just wait until it’s your turn.

      • 0 avatar
        bk_moto

        Well, to be fair, if a warrant exists, the question of permission is completely irrelevant.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Actually, it’s not irrelevant at all. Warrants can be issued in error, and they have particulars, specifically describing the person or things to be seized. A home owner who believes the warrant describes a total stranger who has never been there has every right to deny entry to search for that person, pointing out the discrepancy.

          The police actually have to have a reason to suspect the person they seek is there, but judges don’t always ask for the evidence before signing the warrant. If the police had a warrant for my address seeking a guy named Barack Hussain Obama, I’d turn them away. A search warrant is not a blank check, though the police would like you to think you have no alternative, and probably themselves think you don’t, since they aren’t well trained in personal rights that limit their activity.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Given the number of heavily armed nut-jobs running around loose in this country, I have NO problem at all with the cops having something like this when/if they need it. Not like they are going out patrolling in it, and the price was right. My small city in Maine has an armored something-or-other (not as big as this but plenty tough) that they paid big money for some years back. They have used it successfully in at least one armed standoff situation that I know of. The intimidation of an armored truck pulling right up to the front door was enough for the guy to toss out the rifle and give up. This in a place so safe that I did not have locks for the doors of my house until 8 years after I bought it. If the DoD is giving these away for free, why the heck not?

    If we are going to have all but unlimited guns in the general population, then the cops need to be a big step ahead in their game.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’m about to dive into something that I shouldn’t here, but w/e.

      If you were understand the 2nd Amendment you would realize the point of it is to protect the people from an intrusive government, it’s not there simply for the fun of it.
      If the government has superior technology over the people what’s to stop them from doing what so many other systems have done in the past?
      There is nothing safe about an unarmed country.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        Good Lord….I’m far from anti-gun but that oft cited logic has holes big enough for a Hummer to drive through. Gubmint will ALWAYS have superior firepower.
        Meanwhile civic police departments are purchasing tanks to keep up with an increasingly armed citizenry…where does the arms race stop? Yeah, sounds like Utopia.

  • avatar

    The sad part is that at times it seems like Radley Balko is the only guy standing between us and this. Well, okay, Radley and Jack now. That is sure to win.

    BTW, the militarization was going on for far longer than MRAP was produced, and I thought it was grotesque when a local PD acquired their first M-60 in the 90s. It’s not like they would even use it in case of a riot. Well, these days it’s different. They just might.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Back in the day, when mobile phones were a twinkle in Moto and Rola’s eyes, the streets of London were littered with police call boxes. You know, that Tardis thing Dr. Who uses is disguised to look like one. I actually did see a for-real police call box in Battersea when I was really young so I know they were real at one point.

    Sorry, stick with me here …

    Well, in the same kind of way that police call boxes became obsolete because police radios were introduced, maybe as gas prices inevitably skyrocket we can find alternative uses for these soon to be obsolete $$$ bottomless pit gas slurping municipal debt creating behemoths?

    Instead of building new, small community outreach police stations, these MRAPs could be parked up, painted jolly colors by local elementary school kids and turned into pre-armored police stations. We could even say that MRAPs really means “My Really Awesome Police Station”

    Second possibility – Place an unused MRAP at the entrance to every school. Would be child hating nutjobs could never be certain whether a particular MRAP was filled with an armed response unit or not. We’ve seen these deterrents work elsewhere, like the cardboard cut-out coppers / cop cars that slow traffic.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “It was developed for a world where everyone outside its reinforced-steel walls is a subhuman enemy to be killed at will.”

    Mistaking cause & effect much? It’s purely defensive and a latecomer to the conflict.

    Lousy greenhouse.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    U – S – A, U – S – A !

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Obsolete army surplus equipment. No big deal. Weird stuff. Impressive, but it is hard to see any real civilian use for most of it. You shudda seen the stuff that came out of WWII.

  • avatar

    Wow that gives a whole new meaning to police state. You could piss a few locals off and keep on cruising without a problem I guess. That thing is buck nasty though.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Good article Jack, touches on some of the points made in Ronnie’s last police abuse article. I honestly can’t see a reason for the local police, anywhere, to have a PANZER DIVISION at their disposal. If you have a need to combat a criminal threat with armored vehicles, it should already be in the hands of the FBI and the National Guard should be brought in. The meme is, we’re prepping for a national emergency, and you should be too.

    EDIT: Oh and if this is really just redistribution or repurposing of surplus, then why aren’t the vehicles just being given to the National Guard for storage and/or training usage?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “why aren’t the vehicles just being given to the National Guard for storage and/or training usage?”

      The National Guard is funded by the federal government.

      It seems that the feds want to dump the expense onto another tier of government.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Because the Army National Guard’s funding comes out of the DoD budget, and has for the past hundred and ten years. Transferring the vehicles to the ANG doesn’t get the expenses out of the DoD books to free up money during sequestration.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Ah so you and PCH see it as an accounting move on the part of the DoD? Perhaps you are right gentlemen, but one would think it would be just as easy to park and forget about these things in some kind of Army depot, but then again I don’t understand how the gov’t [dys]functions.

        • 0 avatar
          aristurtle

          Mothballing them or scrapping them still costs money out of the DoD budget. Transferring them to DHS or to the Bumville, Idaho police department does not cost money out of the DoD budget. It costs money out of some other organization’s budget, but the DoD beancounters don’t particularly care.

          Combine a DoD desperate to get rid of the equipment (with the bonus of appearing to be “not wasteful” by reusing it instead of scrapping it) with a few rural police departments who want a cool truck to play with, and this is what you get. No conspiracy, just the second-order effects of short term decision making.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I had read (so take it with a grain of salt) that the MRAP from a military standpoint is basically a failure (my words) for the prescribed mission of protecting soft flesh from IEDs and that up armored HUMVEEs offered no worse protection in the field – for less money and complexity.

    So the government, stuck with contractual agreements basically dumped (wink, wink, honest, we’re dumping them) on DHS and handing them out like candy.

    In principal I agree with Jack in his post. Last week in Seattle, local, state and federal police raided three seedy hotels with the equivalent of an army battalion (400 officers!!!) with armored and air support.

    Something is really broken, and we slip closer and closer to 1984.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You echo my concerns. I also found your point on the MRAP being a military failure being very intresting. So the model isn’t wanted in the field, but they’re stuck with a whole bunch… so somebody realized they could still be effective for a basic show of force and possible combat against unorganized lightly armed civilians.

      Shades of never waste a crisis.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      Afraid you heard wrong. Providing a vehicle that protects occupants against IEDs (on incredibly short term notice) was about the only thing the program did right. Up-armored HMMVWs didn’t have the right hullform and couldn’t really carry the extra weight all that well either.

      The problems were elsewhere: it was a very rushed program, the vehicles were very expensive, there are at least seven completely different models with entirely incompatible logistics trains, too many were bought, and the things are so damned heavy that they collapse the roads they drive on (and can’t navigate the terrain in, for example, the Korean DMZ). And now we’re pulling out of IRQ and AFG while shrinking the military budget.

      Some of them aren’t even worth it, economically, to ship back stateside, and are being scrapped in place. Of those that are, the Army and the USMC are still trying to figure out how the hell to integrate them into their structure. Having a half-dozen different spare parts sets doesn’t help.

      They’re an albatross, at this point, and DoD is trying to get someone else to carry it.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Thanks for interjecting some sense into the discussion. While rushed and expensive, having spent too much time in that particular sandbox, these vehicles were largely responsible for keeping young men and women alive beyond the wire. I’ve seen first hand damage to these things were the occupants walked away. Problems are as you described. The largest worked well enough in Iraq…but not so well when you started trying to drive them in the hills and mountains of Afghanistan. Now that we are drawing down, the excess has to go somewhere. Options are to blow in place (and we are doing that to some degree, as the cost to ship home sometimes far outweighs the cost to destroy in theater) or ship home. Then what? If a police force wants one of these things on stand-by, so be it. I don’t suspect you’ll see one chasing you down I-65 to give you a speeding ticket.
        And Jack, I can’t decide on whether or not the tone of your article (especially the “It was developed for a world where everyone outside its reinforced-steel walls is a subhuman enemy to be killed at will” part) is an attempt at snark or a direct dig at our Armed Forces. Say what you will about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the threats there are very, very, very real…though we didn’t view every Afghani in terms of being subhuman and having to be killed. Spend a few months there, perhaps on a FOB about the size of somebody’s backyard, maybe 20 KM away from the Pakistani border. Then we can talk.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “we slip closer and closer to 1984″

      Awesome! We’re goin’ back in tiii-ime! We’re goin’ back in tiii-ime!

      First thing, I’m buying 4 Troopers ’cause I couldn’t afford even one back then.

      I mean the first back then.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Thanks Jack. Very sad state of affairs indeed with a hefty dose of good old-fashioned American overkill.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    It will be great in the local Parade. But other than that I don’t see much use. Money poorly spent.

  • avatar
    Joss

    First to spring to my tiny, perverted mind – the post war production Renault 4 CV was painted that color. Because the US left too much paint behind.

    The county constables would be better served by insect sized drones for surveillance and tranquilization than by this behemoth.

  • avatar
    redliner

    .

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    I say give them to those crazy tornado chasers on the Discovery channel.

    Admittedly I don’t know much about the specs of these vehicles but I would think they’d have a multitude of uses in construction, mining, fire fighting, etc. Sure some of the armor would need to be removed but the engines and chassis would certainly be useful for a variety of non-police state applications.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Discovery cancelled “Storm Chasers” over a year ago.

      Besides, a tornado could knock one of these over on its side, easily. It sits too high off the ground and is top heavy.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Because the US left too much paint behind.
    Nay – Rommel’s paint.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    That thing looks like an up armoured school bus.

    I think the Rock drives one of those in the latest Fast and the Furious movie, where it inexplicably keeps up with BMW M5s, which keep up with a biodiesel LeMans prototype.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Funny you mention this. When I did route clearance our guntrucks were RG-31s which swere originally a South African School bus. The vehicle in the picture is a Maxx Pro. Without the extra armor package it honestly doesn’t take a lot to punch a hole in one. An EFP (think homemade HEAT round) will chew this truck up. If Homeland Security, the Cops, or whatever agency wants to intimidate people or keep officers safe I would go with something that they didn’t figure out how to stop years ago.

      Another issue is that it is difficult to chase down the dudes that just blew you up in these giant things. THey won’t fit on a bunch of the roads in Iraq and they are rollover proned in Afghanistan.

      Not my favorite MRAP, but I am partial to the Mine Detection Vehicles (Husky, Buffalo). The Husky saved my life and it makes this thing feel like an 80′s Cavalier by comparison.

      Anyhow I would be happy to post a review of one of these in a few months. I am headed back to there “natural habitat”

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        I don’t want to spoil your future review, but here are the spoilers:

        -kickin’ A/C (as long as you live in a temperate climate)
        -hard to park
        -really big door in the back with built-in stairs
        -ride quality, gas mileage, and handling are nothing special

        :)

        I might be imagining things, but the picture looks like one of the really early Maxx Pros with the gunports under the side windows.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          It does look like an early one and I agree on the AC. You can always tell the trucks that were developed in places like Africa (RG31 for example), versus the US developed ones by the AC. The RG31 would keep you cool on the surface of the sun in full battle rattle. The Max Pro had an AC that worked great…at Fort Drum.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Keep your head down! Bagram sucked, Kandahar might as well have been Disneyland along the Boardwalk…some of the outlying FOBs were decent enough, but I won’t regret if I never set foot in OEF-land again!

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I don’t think this is the vehicle the Rock drives in FF, but I was wondering what that truck was… can’t seem to find any info on it so far. Anyone know?

      And yes I know it wasn’t that fast for real, just curious. :)

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        http://www.dodge-dart.org/forum/general-automotive-discussion/7525-rock-s-truck-fast-furious-6-me.html

        I found some good intel on this page. Not the same truck but close.

        Anyone else here want to see a Scout based on the Special Operations Tactical Vehicle?

  • avatar
    David Hester

    ” one has to wonder about what happens when you take young men who have already suffered through America’s foreign adventures, put them in the same kind of truck they used back in Afghanistan, and tell them to patrol the neighborhood and/or respond to a situation.”

    Nice cheap shot at both veterans and police officers from someone who’s done nothing more useful or meaningful in his life than drive cars in a circle.

    I had hoped when I got the opportunity to participate in a larger role at TTAC that I could humanize law enforcement a little bit and maybe offer something constructive. I get that there’s tension between the auto enthusiast community and those of us behind the badge. I’d hoped to be able to offer insights and explanations into why things are done in police work the way that they are. I even sold my superiors on the concept of outreach to a group of people (gearheads) that the police are often put in an adversarial role with when I had to go beg permission from them in order to get permission to feature some of our equipment.

    I’m actually fine with questioning and the pointing out of police abuses. Cops aren’t saints and abuses should be dealt with.

    No, what I have a problem with is the sneering. And craven, concern trolling type bullshit like the paragraph I quoted. And fifth grade stuff like mocking a police chief’s last name as was done in the article about the Florida license plate readers.

    Somewhere, at some point in our history the God- given right to protest and speak out against our government and it’s potential abuses became the right to be personally abusive towards the individuals who serve that government.

    Life is too short to spend being aggravated during my time off. People don’t like police. Not a problem. I’m done. Good luck with the site.

    • 0 avatar
      Brad2971

      “Somewhere, at some point in our history the God- given right to protest and speak out against our government and it’s potential abuses became the right to be personally abusive towards the individuals who serve that government.”

      That point would have been right before Pres. John Adams and his fellow Federalists passed the Alien & Sedition Acts. After all, Pres. Adams didn’t like the Anti-Federalists not properly “respecting his authoritah.”

      “Nice cheap shot at both veterans and police officers from someone who’s done nothing more useful or meaningful in his life than drive cars in a circle.”

      I would submit to you that the constant lionization of the military (and until recently, the police) is not only an anomaly in our history, it can lead to a military and police that thinks it can roll over those pesky citizens who have “no understanding of what it takes to be a soldier/sailor/Airman/Marine/LEO.” If we get nothing else out of things like the UK telling Obama to get stuffed re: Syria, it would be a good start to see the military knocked down a few pegs.

      As for this MRAP “giveaway:” Methinks the local steel/metal scrappers in the Nashville area are going to see…a fair amount of desert-camo colored metal parts coming through their yards in the next couple years.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Thanks. Your comment reminded me to move the Wired icon away from the TTAC icon in my bookmarks toolbar.

        Thought I’d hit the wrong one again.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          So Dave Hester, why not submit a counterfactual essay to rebut what you perceive to be factually wrong & juvenile/ad hominem attacks on law enforcement?

          The “take your ball home” strategy is counterproductive, IMO, and merely telegraphs intellectual laziness and/or an inability to quash frustration long enough to craft a rational & persuasive case for that which you wish to state and refute.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        The problem with giving them away is that it is expensive to bring these back to the US, especially when Pakistan closes the supply routes. We shred a lot of these, believe it or not. Your tax dollars at work.

    • 0 avatar
      wibigdog

      (sigh) Here we go again. I thought things would change here with the new “leadership”. I thought this website would be about cars, not bashing the corrupt police and government. I guess not. Dave, I greatly appreciate your articles and your post regarding this mess. Thanks for giving an effort. As for me, if I wanted to read this bullshit, there’s plenty of other sites I can visit where the trolls lurk, anxiously waiting to pounce on those they don’t agree with. I’ll go back to CC; you know, a site about CARS, not politics. I’m done too.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        You seriously see no merit in questioning the militarization of Mayberry’s police department to keep Andy Griffith safe from i.e.d.’s? It’s not much of a stretch to write on this topic at TTAC as a MRAP is definitely a vehicle and thus falls under their purview. Your butt-hurt over this though suggests that you disagree with Jack’s contention that militarizing Mayberry is a bad idea, so why don’t you write something to that effect and call it “The Meter Maids Should All Drive Humvees”. I can’t wait to read it.

        • 0 avatar
          wibigdog

          These vehicles are not going to be used on regular patrol. Does anybody understand this or are they just quick to jump to conclusions? It would be used to respond to those who have barricaded themselves and who may be armed and have a hostage. Recently a local officer was killed by a barricaded individual when his squad car did not provide adequate protection. This is more of an officer safety tool than a way to “militarize” our police. But I doubt any would understand this and I’m sure someone will have a witty rebuttal. If only our society was like Mayberry, but it never was and it never will be.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            If you are not worried about IEDs then this is not the optimal vehicle, period. It is expensive to maintain and tends to tip over.

            A surplus uparmored HUMVEE, an old M113, or a civilian uparmored truck are all better and cheaper options for the scenario you describe unless there is something more going on.

            These trucks are about protecting the occupants from IEDs. They are overkill to stop bullets.

          • 0 avatar
            Piston Slap Yo Mama

            You’re giving the police too much credit and assuming “intelligence” and “restraint” on their part, concepts lost on today’s police force (could you visualize my ironic quote signs as you read that?) Here’s what will actually happen: “when you have a hammer the whole world looks like a nail” – but substitute MRAP for hammer.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        This is actually one of the things I like about TTAC, we can sometimes have big boy conversations about bigger affectations. Usually, there is a good debate. There are always a few who can’t handle controversy, or who feel personally attacked when different opinions are displayed.

        There is plenty of neutered reading to be had on the internet. TTAC has never been a place that was worried about knotting a few panties, and that’s why I like it.

        I appreciate Mr. Hester’s attempt to humaize law enforcement, he sounds like a stand up guy and cop. However he must consider why people feel the way they do instead of shrugging them off as unjustified cop haters.

      • 0 avatar
        Dirk Stigler

        “where the trolls lurk, anxiously waiting to pounce on those they don’t agree with.”

        You mean like you? I’ll ask, though, honestly and with the intention of trying to understand the answer — why are you so sanguine about all the SWAT teams, the dog-shooting, the MRAPs for local PDs, the various abuses the Federal Govt has been committing under Bush and now Obama? Do you trust the government because Obama is president? Be honest — a lot people just didn’t think things like warrantless wiretapping were a big deal when Bush was president.

        Why don’t you think all these weapons of war in the hands of the PDs won’t be used against you someday?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “I had hoped when I got the opportunity to participate in a larger role at TTAC that I could humanize law enforcement a little bit and maybe offer something constructive.”

      I think you’ve succeeded in this respect, Detective Hester and you should be proud. I have certainly enjoyed your articles, especially the poiice car reviews. Please don’t let the sometimes insensitive thoughts of others get you down.

    • 0 avatar
      Legally Brunette

      You have to have an awfully big chip on your shoulder to interpret what Jack said as being a cheap shot to anyone, much less “sneering…craven, concern trolling type bullshit”. Jack brings up a legitimate concern. When you look at the large number of our war veterans arriving home with not just PTSD, but a mindset from the training driven into them for work in the sandbox that patrolling the streets of a town is always a death-defying experience, it can only be seen as further blurring the lines when we put them in the same vehicle they used to patrol in Anwar Province. You combine that with increasingly ridiculous military-style police forces across the country and the blurred lines that come out of active CIA employees training police to use techniques against Americans innocently walking down the street that used to be reserved for our worst enemies, and there really is no telling how bad the use of the MRAP and other military tools will be on America.

      I say these things not as a hater of law enforcement. My brother is a state trooper. I am an attorney in federal law enforcement. At the end of the day, the answer to any question about law enforcement should never be “whatever it takes to get the job done”. Protect our men and women, yes. But don’t do it at the cost of turning the nation, city by city, into small towns where law-abiding people are afraid of the police.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        To this day I will crane my neck to look behind telephone poles (they loved to use them to aim the EFPs and would put them behind them) and will occasionally move to the other side of the road when I see trash piled up and I don’t even have PTSD. Still can’t figure out the benefits to Law Enforcement having this type of truck.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      ” one has to wonder about what happens when you take young men who have already suffered through America’s foreign adventures, put them in the same kind of truck they used back in Afghanistan, and tell them to patrol the neighborhood and/or respond to a situation.”

      I see where the tone in the comments (and to a way lesser extent the article) could piss you off, but there’s a serious and real point being made in that paragraph and in this debate as a whole. It might be hard to see it since you are never going to be the person that a DT car “rolls on” out of curiosity, ever. The vast majority of US citizens will also never live in a place where the police act that way as well, but if you do…the last thing you see as desirable in a police hire is PTSD and a higher-level trained violent response (obviously not true of many vets, but an issue). I really mean that in a non-sneering and genuine way, and I loved your articles and hope you keep sharing them.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Please reconsider leaving, I’ve also enjoyed your articles. The worst thing you can do is leave when you’ve started to build awareness and interest in police vehicles and issues as they relate to drivers.

      There are certainly two sides to every story and as many of us have little insight into the inner workings of police departments your perspective is valued more than your likely realize.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      No, you get back here right now, I want that Caprice review.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      @Hester – I hope you reconsider, I think its great to have a pro-LE opinion to counter some of the many misconceptions floating around. I also like your writing! I am surprised though that you didn’t take this up personally with Jack rather than publicly here. I am sure he didn’t mean any disrespect, I think he just likes to be snarky.

  • avatar
    Dan

    When American cops start facing 152mm IEDs these will be just the ticket.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I’m confused, was there some epidemic of .50 cal sniper rounds taking out police cruisers that I missed? I’m guessing not. From what I recall of our most recent public combat scenario (that Chris guy in LA) he didn’t stand a chance in hell once he was cornered. Is the tank-ish vehicle really necessary in those rare instances when incindiaries/”smoke” bombs are going to be deployed anyway? Couldn’t, you know, the non-police national guard or a federal agency be relied on to do the same job without encouraging war zone rhetoric among actual police officers (which comes across as rather pathetic btw)?

  • avatar

    As bad as this is, it STILL doesnt measure up to the misguided PD “Panther Love” that has gone on for WAY too many decades now, like since RADIO. Does ANY PD really need a V8 anymore? Or would they prefer their pensions funded? Sorry, Ya cant have both.

  • avatar
    JD321

    Just normal preparation for the New World Order. Seems the political terrorists figure a lot of their tax cattle aren’t going to like the NWO much. This little NWO vehicle says to the tax livestock “Hello – Obey us or die”

  • avatar
    mkirk

    This is overkill for Cops unless there is an emerging IED threat in the US. There are other vehicles that stop bullets and are a better deal for John Q. Taxpayer. And if it is for intimidation, well I have some nice pictures of one of these that a device built by some dude in his house sliced through like hot butter. Anyone who has spent time in one of these will likely not be impressed. Now if the cops come in a Buffalo on the other hand.

  • avatar

    “Gallatin claims that they participate in about fifteen SWAT exercises a year.”

    How many of these involve Kenny Britt?

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I personally don’t see any problem with local cops getting some free equipment from the military to play with, we aren’t talking about using these for patrol cars. There are always going to be dangerous situations where the police will need to “shock and awe” the criminals, and if this protects them more, then great. It seems like all the negative comments immediately assume this type of equipment will be used to terrorize innocent citizens which I don’t get. The police have SWAT equipment now, and I don’t see it being hauled out regularly to scare people. And sure, I realize that there are bad cops out there, mistakenly or even purposely going after innocent citizens, searching suspicious people for no real reason, invading the wrong house, etc, but having a big giant truck isn’t going to change that or stop it no more than not wearing black uniforms will.

    • 0 avatar
      no-point turn

      >>The police have SWAT equipment now, and I don’t see it being hauled out regularly to scare people.

      Where do you live, and what is meant by “regularly”? The riot cop of my childhood and the beat cop of today seem to bristle with about the same amounts of armament and attitude. I stand to be convinced that American society has gotten Much more dangerous in the last quarter-century; for damn sure the cops have.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Where do YOU live that you see beat cops walking around armed like SWAT? I am in Florida, we have plenty of criminal element. Most of the cops wear tan uniforms and drive white marked cars. Some drive the black patrol cars and wear black. Most wear vests, which is smart IMO. Its not like the SWAT van is out on the corner.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      This vehicle is meant to get a fire team from point A to point B without them getting killed by an IED. Yes, it will stop bullets but there are a lot of vehicles in the inventory that will do the same for less money and less headache. And they are NOT FREE. My last deployment dealt with getting a lot of this stuff home. If you can move it through one route, it is simply very expensive. If that route is closed and they have to go air or the alternante ground route, it is literally cheaper to drop the truck in the MRAP shredder (yes, there is such a thing and it IS an impressive piece of machinery) and write it off.

      And while this truck is fairly survivable, it isn’t terribly difficult to stop. The front is the same engine cover your kid’s schoolbus has so most of the underhood is vulnerable to gunfire and shrapnel as are the tires. If you catch it on fire it is not especially easy to quickly get out of (as is the case with all of the giant door MRAPs) and you cant see out of them worth a damn (I think this is why we got other vehicles for Route Clearance Patrols). Many a trigger man got away due to these things being so unwieldy on regular roads that you just couldn’t chase them. Not really ideal traits for a SWAT vehicle in an urban area.

      Anyway, following the logic of these cops needing protection we should just give them our Abrams Tanks. I mean we aren’t really using them at the moment and who knows when someone might blaze away at an Officer with a pistol. I am not taking away from the Cops here. They have there own mission so to speak and it is dramatically different than the one of the US military (Yes, I know we do “police actions” as well but contrary to all the Facebook pictures Kandahar is not Detroit).

      Bottom line is that this family of vehicles is optimized to confront a specific threat that the Cops don’t face and the fact that they want them fuels both suspicion and the perception of waste.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Very fine vehicle. I bet it’s fun to drive it.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      It is not. It is huge, loud, cramped, had marginal AC, was insanely top-heavy, and has terrible outward visibility. The seats are good though in terms of gun trucks. I place it third in the arsenal, behind the Buffalo and the second Husky I had which someone had procured and installed a Recaro seat in. Didn’t matter when you were in full kit but it was comfy to drive it to the fuel point. The Maxx Pro aspires to be an RG-31 (or 33).

      Also, the ones our sister Platoon had always broke the alternator belt after they were loaded up with all of the lights for night route clearance. We all felt it to be thin skinned and no where near as tough as some of the other trucks. It was quick compared to the RG though, but that same Husky destroyed it in a drag race once.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    The purpose of a vehicle like this is to be mobile cover…which everybody mocks until some jackass terrorist is running around on the loose in Boston or something and then they want the cops to come and get him. Having the ability to approach without getting shot up or to be able to evacuate innocent people without them getting shot up is nice. I’ve never seen an innocent pulled out of a hostage situation or standoff in some sort of armored vehicle bitching about the militarization of the police.

    As for these particular vehicles, their sheer bulk works against them for the intended role, IMO. Sure, they may be great for going down Route Irish without getting blown up, but in your typical SWAT callout the size of the things will probably restrict the places they can go. Sometimes you need to drive some mobile cover through tight spaces…spaces I don’t think that thing will fit through.

    The big problem with the police/military nexus is a failure to appreciate the proper use of certain tools. Some things work brilliantly in a military context, but are useless on the streets of the USA. (Except maybe Detroit) That goes for equipment, tactics, and attitudes too.

    Sitting on the line between the LE world and the non-LE world I see both sides of it. I see the hard working motivated people who try their best to do the right thing day in and day out for a largely unappreciative public. I also see the prevalence of mediocrity, poor supervision, and at times inexcusable incompetence that can come to define entire organizations. The business world is no different, really. Lots of companies hire stupid people who do stupid things. The difference is that most of the time when the private sector screws up people don’t get killed and their constitutional rights don’t get squashed.

    In law enforcement when you screw up, somebody is dead, injured, or has their freedom snatched away from them. This is kind of a big deal and deserves scrutiny…as do the decision making processes that lead up to it. Unfortunately hard evaluations of what really happened tend to be atypical and a product of the sort of leaders that aren’t encouraged in law enforcement.

    …or anywhere else, for that matter. Organizations in general don’t like people who are vocal about all the ways they suck and could be busy about not sucking. Doesn’t win you friends in the organization, typically. I see the guys who try often getting penalized for doing so. The guy who is exact and thorough in his application for a warrant gets frozen out of an investigations units because he’s too persnickety about warrants. Besides, none of the lawyers ever challenge the warrant in court so it’s not a big deal…

    The guy who challenges the low firearms qualification standards gets frozen out of the SWAT team and firearms instructor positions because he’s not a team player. And besides, they’re good enough! And when one of their officers fires thirteen times at a knife-wielding attacker without touching him with a single round everybody just pretends it’s one of those things that happens and they dress up in dress uniform and wear the black badge bands but nobody better actually propose FIXING IT lest their career die a slow death.

    Police departments are full of people. Many of them are very well-meaning people. Well meaning people in an organization led by competent, moral leadership can do amazing things. Well meaning people in an organization so screwed up that the sheriff gets pulled over for DUI by the state troopers tend to become frustrated, jaded, and end up leaving the profession for something more honest. Like maybe being a used car salesman. (True story)

    Policing is an honorable profession, and people who make stupid quips about garbage men having a more dangerous job probably have absolutely no experience knowingly riding into a gunfight just because somebody made the call for help. Or of being ambushed and finding themselves alone on the side of the road fighting for their life because they pulled someone over for a traffic offense who decided they weren’t going back to jail when the cop found out they had warrants. Etc.

    The profession is honorable, but not everyone in it is honorable. There are some real dipshits in policing and generally the sort of guys you want toting a badge and a gun hate those guys because those are the guys that screw it all up. They don’t respond to calls for help. They screw up crime scenes. They make procedural errors or omissions that expose the department to liability on a regular basis. They do shoddy work, use their powers on the wrong people, and actively look to screw the careers of those who try to uphold a standard of professionalism.

    If you want to do criticism of LE right, get specific. Don’t be lazy and paint with the broad brush, go after specifics. The article mentioning the parking violations from a few days ago is a good example. Sure, the author has said some pretty stupid stuff about policing in comments, but that article was dead on. It pointed out a leadership failure, and that’s absolutely fair. Just as it’s fair to call foul on the number of cops who would cut a DUI a break if he had a badge. (And there’s a lot of them, unfortunately)

    This article wasn’t the right way to do it. SWAT teams and equipment exists for a reason, one everybody sees the value of when there’s a Tsarnaev on the loose or a bunch of gangbangers torching Los Angeles and shooting at cops. Then they seem to forget about that stuff and pretend that bad things don’t happen here.

    If you want to bitch about SWAT, bitch about the inappropriate use of SWAT. Inappropriate use of no-knocks. Failure to do due dilligence that ends with a SWAT team kicking down the wrong door. SWAT teams that are a cool kid’s club and don’t critically examine their procedures and tactics until a 7 year old girl gets shot in the head out of pure stupidity. Stuff like that.

    This? This is nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Disagree. You do not need the V hull to accomplish the role you describe and that is what makes this truck so tall. There are hundreds of vehicles that will do that. This vehicles purpose is to keep you alive in an IED blast. There are many vehicles that fulfill the mobile cover role better without making comprimises to deal with threats no cops face.

      And this includes Boston type IEDs. This is built to have a 155 go off under it. Civillan uparmored stuff would survive Boston type IEDs or any other I have seen in this country NOT built by Tim McVeigh. Cops do not face threats that this vehicle is built for and if they ever start facing those threats than we have likely been invaded or have a revolution going on.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        I wasn’t attempting to argue this vehicle is ideal as a police APC or armored vehicle…merely attempting to posit that the general idea of this thing is likely nothing more than as mobile cover and a healthy dose of “Well, the military uses them so they must be awesome!” Actually sitting down and rationally examining the details of why the military bought this particular vehicle and what it’s good at probably never took place.

        I don’t think it’s a good fit for SWAT callouts, personally. You’re right that there are smaller vehicles that will protect from gunfire and moderate explosions just fine, and will also be more maneuverable and usable at to boot. I think that LE departments buying these things probably aren’t doing their homework and will end up finding out the limitations the hard way. Then it might end up sitting and gathering dust because they find out it won’t go anywhere.

        I don’t think they’re a good idea as mobile cover for most departments in most situations. A really big department like LAPD might be able to identify a place where this specific vehicle meets a rational need, I’m firmly convinced that most departments who are lusting after these things are doing so in complete ignorance with nothing more than the military use of them as the basis of the desire to purchase.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Agreed. This was a tool developed for a very specific theater (Iraq). They don’t use them so much even in Afghanistan (they have the MATV). Not the right tool for this job.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    People will pay surprising amounts of money for old military equipment.

    I bid on a surplus auction site for a 1985 GM CUCV pickup truck, expecting the bidding for a beat up old pickup with a bent driveshaft to go no further than 1000 dollars…to my shock, the bidding ended at $3,500!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You’re better off.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      There’s a community that has the mistaken idea that the CUCV is some kind of military-grade off-road supervehicle whereas it in fact was a boondoggle that the Army discovered was more-or-less useless during Desert Storm.

      They bid the things crazy-high at auction. It’s weird.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        For $3500 I could probably get a K/V30 that’s in better shape and doesn’t have the Slugtroit Diesel non-turbo 6.2 motor in it. People are crazy.

        I just wanted to see if it was possible to buy an entire pickup truck in driveable condition for 500 bucks.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      People do tend to think that a piece of military equipment is somehow better than what they can buy as a consumer. That is true in certain instances, and horribly untrue in others.

      Of course, police purchasing often isn’t a rational process. People think it is, but often it’s one or two dudes who have made all the right friends who have all the power to make the decisions on what gets bought and what doesn’t…and a bunch of useless gear that the guys who actually need the gear didn’t want and don’t use. Some dingus invented a “ballistic shield” that is basically a roll-up bit of soft armor rated to stop handgun rounds with a view-port in it that you are supposed to hang around your neck. Anyone who actually tried to use it would instantly think it was the dumbest piece of gear ever invented. And yet I can cite a department that used that as their central piece of kit in an active shooter bag because the dude tasked with doing the purchasing was a flunkie who had no grasp of what he was doing.

      Why was the guy who had participated in NONE of the active shooter training, or who hadn’t even attempted to use ANY of the gear he was buying put in charge of the effort? Because the Chief says so.

      Ask anyone who has been in the military and they’ll tell you that the military has bought some spectacularly bad equipment. People from the outside just assume that it’s good stuff and that assumption translates into a willingness to part with money. Gun companies know this and so they advertise firearms as being “mil spec” to boost sales despite the fact that they have no idea what the actual military specification is, why it exists, or that there may be something better than the spec. Their customers don’t know either, and don’t know the details of firearms engineering and so they plunk down money on these things thinking they’re getting quality when in reality they aren’t.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Just look at the initial batch of M16s. The first M16s sent over to ‘Nam were disastrous, and many a soldier decided to use the downright antique BAR instead of the M16. Probably one of the military’s biggest equipment faux pas of the entire 20th century.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          The M-16 was gas operated and designed to use IMR stick powder.

          Winchester won the contract and supplied what I recall was the equivalent of 231 ball.

          Thus the jams.

          Sorry to chime in. I was a competitive shooter long before I raced cars :)

        • 0 avatar
          carrya1911

          The M16 family has turned out to be quite good. The military sent out the M16 using the wrong powder in the ammunition and without cleaning kits making fantastic claims that the weapon didn’t require cleaning or lubrication. This was, as it turned out, untrue.

          Hell, it was only recently that the military started to admit that generous lubrication made the guns work better.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Oh of course, they worked out the bugs, but that first batch was so disastrously unreliable that no soldier would use them if given the choice of another weapon.

            Not sure anything else the military has supplied to soldiers was screwed up that badly.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Wiki Mark 14 torpedoes.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @Kenmore: Wow…that’s pretty damn disastrous.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Yep, when you read in-depth accounts of the missed opportunities to sink Japanese freighters and troop transports, many of the duds impacting so hot and true that they sounded like gongs to the sub crews, it just makes your fists clench.

      And of course those torps were at their worst in the early phases of the Pacific war when *any* kind of hit back at the Japanese would have done wonders for American morale.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to up armor a D9 like that dude did in Granby CO.

  • avatar
    JasonRahall

    My hometown Tampa, FL, has a nifty armored tank-like tracked vehicle:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/28111950@N00/9356024759/


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