Random Thoughts About MRAPs and Naked Ex-Cops

"Warren County Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree poses on the department's mine resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, in Queensbury, N.Y." (caption and photo courtesy AP)

When I lived over in the UK, gas cost $10 a gallon. The Land of Hope and Glory is an oil-producing nation. And yet the UK boasts the highest pump prices in Europe. That’s because all but a fraction of the cost goes straight to the Her Majesty’s Government’s Department of Inland Revenue. When I kvetched to my accountant about taking out a second mortgage to visit Scotland he laughed. “Compared to all the other ways the Exchequer drains your wallet that’s nothing.” But it wasn’t nothing. Sky-high gas prices were a personal, visible and constant reminder of the Nanny State’s commitment to socialist principles—for those who are paying attention. Kinda like an MRAP . . .

Coming soon to your local sheriff: 18-ton, armor-protected military fighting vehicles with gun turrets and bulletproof glass that were once the U.S. answer to roadside bombs during the Iraq war.

The AP story on Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles—SPOILS OF WAR: POLICE GETTING LEFTOVER IRAQ TRUCKS—quickly makes the important point: MRAPs aren’t coming soon. They’re here.

For police and sheriff’s departments, which have scooped up 165 of the mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPS, since they became available this summer, the price and the ability to deliver shock and awe while serving warrants or dealing with hostage standoffs was just too good to pass up.

“It’s armored. It’s heavy. It’s intimidating. And it’s free,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, among five county sheriff’s departments and three other police agencies in New York that have taken delivery of an MRAP.

In the picture at the top of this post, Warren County NY Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree poses in front of his “free” MRAP. Warren County was named after General Joseph Warren, an American Revolutionary War hero who fought against British tyranny at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Population: 65,707. Here’s a snap of downtown Lake George, one of the upstate County’s larger municipalities.

Downtown Lake_George, Warren County, New York (courtesy wikipedia.org)

Now imagine Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree’s MRAP cruising down that street. Which, of course, it won’t. Not on a regular basis. Undersheriffs aren’t stupid. They know “intimidation” is a double-edged sword. An MRAP may strike fear into the heart of a crazed killer, but it’s also true that an American citizen watching one of these heavily armored behemoths lumbering down a road may suddenly realize that they’re living in a militarized police state.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of small town residents who’d contemplate an MRAP’s progress and feel a sense of security. Pride, even. But there are just as many, I hope, who would experience a sense of outrage and fear. Outrage because they know that MRAPs aren’t free; their tax dollars paid for the vehicles (approx. $500k per unit). Maintenance, gas, labor—it all adds up. Fast. Fear because what the hell is an MRAP doing in Warren County New York?

In Warren County, at the southern edge of the Adirondack Mountains, Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree said its MRAP, which can hold six people and reach 65 mph, will have its turret closed up except for a small slot, the only place to fire a gun. Its bulletproof windows don’t open. The proposed retrofit, including new seating, loudspeakers and emergency lights, would cost an estimated $70,000. The department has applied for grants.

“We have no plans of mounting a machine gun,” he said. “The whole idea is to protect the occupants.”

While Warren County’s Lamouree acknowledged the MRAP will likely spend most of its time in a heated garage, with “minimal” maintenance costs, it could be used occasionally by the emergency response team, which has used armored vehicles to serve drug warrants.

“We live in the North Country,” he said. “It’s very common for people to have high-powered hunting rifles.”

I don’t think I need to explain the inanity of that remark, save to say that Warren County isn’t home to a large number of hunting rifle-armed insurrectionist insurgents—at least not yet. And the Undersheriff’s SWAT team has to come out of the MRAP at some point. Ah yes, the SWAT team . . .

Warren County has one of those, obviously. As do thousands of American cities and towns. Just like the MRAPs, SWAT teams are kept on the DL lest they lead tax payers into wondering why they’re paying for a military-style strike force in their not-so-crime-ridden hometown. Unlike MRAPs, SWAT teams are a real and ongoing danger to personal liberty. If the cops have a SWAT team (or two or three), by God they’ll use them.

In fact, Warren County SWAT were on the job just recently . . .

It took a SWAT team and nearly seven hours of negotiations to bring a naked Aleksander Michalski out of his Glens Falls home Tuesday.

The standoff began early in the afternoon when police say the 52-year old broke into a house on Boylston Avenue and threatened a woman inside.

According to officials, Michalski smashed a window to get into the house and threatened the woman with an object similar to a hatchet or an ax, all while naked. The woman was able to escape and call police. Officers say Michalski then ran to his home, which was nearby.

Police were actually at Michalski’s house earlier in the day when he failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance. He was not there. Shortly after, they received the call of a naked man breaking into a house.

State and Warren County Sheriff’s officials joined local police at the scene and surrounded Michalski’s home for hours.

Strangely, the first 11 paragraphs of the news10.com report neglected to mention the fact that Michalski is a former New York City cop. With a “long rap sheet with local police.” Did Warren County need a SWAT team to deal with him? Did they deploy their MRAP? If so, did that help deescalate the situation (as if)? Equally, by having a SWAT team sucking up some of the County’s financial resources, did they miss an opportunity to pay for a little more old-fashioned policing that might have prevented the naked Jack Torrance routine?

Back to that hunting rifle comment for a minute . . .

Obviously, the Undersheriff knows that the greater danger to his men—should there be one—would come from Americans armed with so-called “assault rifles” intent on harming his men. I’m sure he’s also aware that New York’s SAFE Act bans “assault rifles.” He also knows that many AR-owning citizens in Warren County are thinking “cold, dead hands.” So the question becomes, will Lamouree and his SWAT homies go get them?

If so, Lamouree might very well need an MRAP with a militarized police force inside, ready to rock and roll. Of course, the mere presence of highly visible militarized police reduces the threat of armed resistance to an unconstitutional gun grab, right? In that sense, militarized police help prevent the realization of a police state. Or so the thinking goes.

Sheriff Apple rejected the idea that the nation’s police forces are becoming too militaristic.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “Our problem is we have to make sure we are prepared to respond to every type of crisis.” . . .

After the initial 165 of the MRAP trucks were distributed this year, military officials say police have requests in for 731 more, but none are available.

I say, send ’em MRAPs! And get them out on patrol ASAP. The sooner Americans see the danger of a militarized police force they sooner they’ll move to stop the SWAT team trend in its tracks. At least in theory . . . [h/t DanRRZ]

comments

  1. avatar Phil L says:

    Personally, I don’t think these vehicles will last very long with a typical police department: The first serious service or repair bill will cause most of them to rethink this “free” offering. I’d love to know what a set of tires – and use of the equipment to mount them – would cost.

    1. avatar Tom says:

      Not to mention the first trip to the pump. When your mileage is measured in gallons per mile, you tend to be averse to operating it.

    2. avatar John says:

      Just raise taxes to cover expenses. It is for the children after all…

    3. avatar Steve in NY says:

      Repairs and fuel won’t cost the department anything. The taxpayers will be footing the bill.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        My god, think of the traffic tickets they’ll have to write to pay for the gas and tires. I’d guess 2 miles over the limit isn’t safe anymore if the PD has an MRAP. Taxpayers are fed up with rate raises.

    4. avatar Skyler says:

      There’s a reason the Marines have been trying to get rid of them.

    5. avatar larry says:

      Agreed. In 5 years most will be abandoned because the cost of keeping them up. They will want something new and the MRAP will get sacrificed.

    6. avatar Ted says:

      Just write more parking and speeding tickets, problem solved.

    7. avatar Roscoe says:

      MRAPs should be a real boon for community oriented policing.

    8. avatar Jus Bill says:

      And here’s another hidden cost – road repair/rebuilding.

      Run that puppy up and down the road a few times, and the as[halt will begin to look like black gravel due to the GVW. After the warm weather “ruts” appear, that is. And how much pounding are the 50-year old bridges able to handle?

    9. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

      They’ll end up stuck with a white (well, flat dark earth) elephant, just like that Alaskan town that took that surplus military hovercraft. Last I read, they quite literally couldn’t give that thing away. That’s been a year or so since, so maybe it’s been sold for scrap by now.

      1. avatar Michael says:

        Remember that 600,000,000USD stealth speedboat the navy was trying to sell for $60,000 years ago? hahhahahhah. I think someone bought it for a movie prop.

    10. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

      Well, my used, 90% tread XML super-singles on my Deuce and a half run about $350 a piece. Of course, I have to buy 6 of them, not 4, but you get a sense of the cost. New, they’re around $500+ per tire. Surprisingly enough, they can be mounted by hand, not that they would do it, but they could if need be.

      I can’t speak for the police, but I just love driving my Deuce. It’s 6 tons of kick-ass on wheels. All the guys with their jacked-up Ford, Chevy, or Dodge trucks have to look up. My cab height is that of an 18 wheeler. Vehicles this size are very empowering. That is something the police want. “Us” is powerful, “them” is not. The cold truth: in this scenario, we’re the “them.”

      1. avatar BDub says:

        My baby was 5-ton Wrecker and sometimes a Hemtt Wrecker!

    11. avatar BDub says:

      Forget the cost of the tire. Maintenance on vehicle such as this requires and entire infrastructure – tools, jacks, cages, square footage, personnel specifically train on that vehicle type. I was a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic and Recovery Specialist in the Army (63BH8). Just changing the tires on a vehicle like this was a mission in and of itself. If you had to use hand tools out in the field it could take several days. If you wanted some real fun, try doing an alignment or brake-work on this thing with manual tools.

    12. avatar DJ says:

      Like most military vehicles, they are designed to be driven. If you don’t drive them regularly, they break. And when they break, they tend to do so in expensive ways.

      So, not only are they difficult for a local PD to maintain, but the limitations of the design virtually guarantee they will be overused.

  2. avatar The Last Marine out says:

    Hay with MRAP they can shoot and kill EVERYBODY and let God sort it all out!

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    Wow… Those cops seriously lack testicular fortitude. If our soldiers can do foot patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan against terrorists with heavy weapons and IEDs, these mall ninjas can do the same against drug dealers.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Exactly what I was thinking; skill and experience gives way to overwhelming power and brute force.

      Jeez, I don’t know how I survived my years in law enforcement.

  4. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I don’t consider them threatening, I consider them a waste of money. Someone’s paying for the upkeep.

    As far as I know, we don’t have one in Orlando yet, and I’m sorta surprised about that.

    1. avatar Rambeast says:

      I wonder how they handle the soft ground of the coastal SE US…

      1. avatar The Original Brad says:

        They sink, axel deep, like all other heavy equipment.

      2. avatar Sid says:

        They sink. Quickly. Unlike a tracked vehicle, these armored vehicles place all of the weight load on the four tires. In soft soil, you may as well flatten the tires because you are not rolling anywhere.

    2. avatar Michael B. says:

      OPD SWAT has some other giant armored monstrosity they roll around in. I saw it for the first time the other day when they were strangely parked underneath the 408 underpass at Primrose.

    3. avatar pyratemime says:

      Maybe Orlando didn’t get one because Disney has agreed to load out theirs? [/sarc… sort of]

    4. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

      A waste of money, purchased by people who can put a gun to your head to get more money, is a threat.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        True, I guess. I understand the concept of “all laws are enforced at the barrel of a gun” but I think you know what I meant.

        1. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

          I did.

          Maybe I’m projecting but I think that one of the benefits of the sparring that goes on in this forum is that it allows us to have our thinking challenged, and thus improved, and also making sure our rhetoric is trimmed up so as to match our thinking.

          I invite you to do the same with me and mine.

  5. avatar John E> says:

    knock telephone poles down fore and aft and see if it can negotiate that obstacle.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I was thinking along the same lines of other possible obstacles … including a simple trench across a roadway. I imagine there are other possibilities as well.

      1. avatar carsonthebrain64 says:

        In the country just increase the depth vertical profile of your drainage culvert at the end of the driveway. Then use a bridge rated for passenger vehicles. Bring a MRAP/up armored vehicle across at your own risk.

    2. avatar DJ says:

      A properly constructed field expedient abatis will stop anything, up to and including tracked armor, dead.

      http://www.assaultweb.net/forums/showthread.php?p=606491

  6. avatar Izat says:

    I saw a county sherriff MRAP driving on the highway in rural South Dakota this month. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The nearest gas station was 45 miles away, that’s how desolate this area of S.D. was. Why in the hell does rural South Dakota need an MRAP??? I didn’t have one in Iraq, they shouldn’t either.

    1. avatar ST says:

      As a fellow South Dakotan, I’ve got four words for you.

      “Pine Ridge Indian Reservation”.

      I haven’t been to Iraq, but parts of the Res would make a great Hollywood stand in.An MRAP would be right at home.

      1. avatar Izat says:

        This was up in the Northwest corner, not on the Res. It’s completely unnecessary.

    2. avatar C says:

      How did they manage to get that far from a gas station? You should go back with a jerry can and pick it up off the shoulder.

  7. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    Wide distribution of military equipment to the local PD simply makes it more easily accessible to the “irate, tireless minority,” once the need arises.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I had that thought in mind as well.

  8. avatar David PA/NJ says:

    What the hell does kvetch mean and why is it emphasized so strongly? I don’t get it.
    And I thought Turkey had the highest gas prices in Europe

    1. avatar David PA/NJ says:

      According a business insider article, gas in the UK costs $7.27 per gallon, and in Turkey costs $9.54.
      Just fact checking, like we do here ay TTAG.
      http://www.businessinsider.com/the-15-most-expensive-places-to-buy-gas-in-the-world-2011-4?op=1

    2. avatar JaxD says:

      Kvetching: yiddish for bitching and moaning.

    3. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Kvetch is a word of Yiddish origin that means complain. It’s italicized because it’s a non-English word, not for emphasis.

      1. avatar David PA/NJ says:

        Thanks guys. I guess I could have googled too

        1. avatar Sid says:

          What does “googled” mean?

        2. avatar neiowa says:

          = Binged for progressive drones

        3. avatar Ralph says:

          What does “googled” mean?

          Google it and find out.

    4. avatar Matt K says:

      Turkey is not Europe nor yet part of the EU*, and yes petrol and diesel are frustratingly expensive here – Robert has a point.
      On the other hand to some extent you get what you pay for, but as we know, when it comes to government spending there’s a law of diminishing returns.

      *The EU is not always Europe and vice versa. Switzerland and Norway for example.

      1. avatar David PA/NJ says:

        Turkey is partially in Europe geographically but mostly in Asia, just like Russia. Both are widely included as members of the European geopolitical system while neither are members of the EU.

  9. avatar IdahoPete says:

    “Sheriff Apple rejected the idea that the nation’s police forces are becoming too militaristic.”

    I feel deeply reassured. Sheriff Apple might want to consider the possibility that when his police force starts acting like an occupying army, they may well be treated as one.

    1. avatar John says:

      ^^^^ This

  10. avatar Jim R says:

    I could ALMOST see an inner-city police department needing one of these. You know, one of the departments that has to deal with gangs and drug dealers on a daily basis and have neighborhoods where the local youths like to shoot at cops for fun. But those neighborhoods are few and far between.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      Those neighborhoods should be walled up and left to rot. Or cleared house by house using the national guard. Cops should have revolvers and shotguns and the occasional bolt gun for SWAT. If they can’t stop a criminal with six shots each, they need to go back to the range.

  11. avatar Leadbelly says:

    Most of these (I hope) are going to wind up deactivated and sealed up on the town square like all of those cement filled WW-I artillery pieces that memorialize the town’s dead servicemen. Or not – it’s possible that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will go down in history as more of an embarrassing series of blunders than anything else.

    I would agree that the maintenance costs are likely to be a reality check. A lot of fliers fantasize about owning a WW-II Mustang or Spitfire. In reality, there only a handful of EXTREMELY wealthy individuals who can afford to keep those things flying, on even a limited basis, and that’s because they are inherently beautiful and part of a truly glorious moment in history that makes the general public willing to pay to see them fly at air shows and the like. Military equipment is generally designed and built with absolutely NO consideration as to maintenance costs. All that matters in battle is that they WORK. For example – the planes mentioned above were designed to make swapping out a bum engine quick and easy so as to keep them in the fight. Airbases all over the world were littered with disused aircraft engines too time consuming and difficult to repair during the war.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      As a guy who first worked in the defense sector right out of school, I could not agree more strongly.

      Military equipment is neat to think about owning, but the cost of upkeep is ferocious. Your example of a Mustang is absolutely spot-on. Thirsty beasts, burning 60+ gallons per hour of $5/gal avgas – and if you really want to hot-rod across the sky, you won’t be burning the 100LL you find at every FBO; you’ll be burning much more expensive high octane fuel. I know a couple guys who own Mustangs – and yes, they’re very well off. They think nothing of $50K to $100K for an overhaul on those Merlins. The proverbial “$100 hamburger” for private pilots becomes a “$2500 hamburger” in a Mustang.

      Even in the sector where I worked (comm radios), the costs were absurd. The commercial radio companies put in lots of interesting features and had minimal provisions for built-in test equipment. If something went wrong, you pulled the radio into the test shop, put in the wiring harnesses and started finding the problem at the component level. You’d pull the board, put in a new component, and you’d be on your way.

      In the military-grade radios, fully 40% of all the circuitry in the radio was “BITE” – built-in test equipment – so that an E-3 could mash his thumb down on a button on the front panel, see a code, look up the code in a book and call the depot for a new board (cost $2K to $10K) to slap into the radio. For a private sector owner of those radios, the costs of the board(s) were prohibitive and you’d be back to component-level troubleshooting… but now you had a lot more components to troubleshoot, due to the BITE. Full of monetary tiger pits for the private owner. This is why, even tho I know those radios had superior performance to nearly all other shortwave radios, I’ll stick with the commercial sector radios.

      Too many people still think that owning surplus military equipment is like the old days, where you paid $100 for an old Willys Jeep, or ordering a M1 Carbine through the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Those days are done and gone, gone, gone, folks.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        Related: http://goo.gl/1Ftfga

        arfcom Florida member who works at an avionics shop. Had a Mustang in for a complete rework of the panel and electronics. Gorgeous pictures.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Just
          WOW!

    2. avatar Jason Lynch says:

      I used to correspond with a gentleman over your way called Dave Sutton, who ran an aviation company specialising in older, Cold War, Eastern Bloc airframes. He mostly ran helicopters and an AN-2 Colt or two, but he did indulge in faster jets (his words) because at one point, they could be bought for buttons. Keeping them flying, though… his MiG-17 was about as much as he could justify and it was an indulgence rather than a moneymaker. Dave had bought a MiG-21, ran it briefly but enjoyably, and sold it on quickly because it just ate too much money and man-hours to keep it airworthy.

      No, I wasn’t physically ill with jealousy, or at least only a little 🙂

      Point being, reinforcing Leadbelly, some of this military kit is classic white elephant: even if it’s supplied free of charge, it either bankrupts you on the upkeep or it rusts quietly away in a shed because it’s too expensive to use… and so when you do finally call for it, the battery’s dead, the tyres are flat, the sump’s full of sludge, nobody remembers how to drive the damn thing, and your guys have no idea what to do with it because you’ve never trained with it.

      I spy a Pentagon accounting wheeze… this is the sort of thing you’d do to get an unwanted asset off the books, rather than just scrapping them.

  12. avatar Ted says:

    Let’s get this straight – during the great ammo shortage, police departments had trouble getting ammo to train with and griped about the cost of that ammo.

    What is it going to cost to run these beasts? Fuel and maintenance will be a huge budget issue.

    There is no such thing as a “free” puppy – or a “free” MRAP.

    1. avatar JPD says:

      Ted, please look back to a previous post. The Sheriff’s department pays for nothing. When any government agency. local, state, national, they find a way to pull more money from taxpayers. So all their toys, bloated paychecks and benefits. Not to mention day to day corruption, is on us!!

      1. avatar neiowa says:

        Whatever juristiction has the cops has to insure, fuel, maintain the critter. Those tires are something over $1300ea.

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The money comes from somewhere, and it isn’t the Tooth Fairy. It might not be local tax revenues, but it is tax revenues.

        Most of these federal “grant” or other subsidy programs to local law enforcement come with a sunset date on them. The Feds get the locals staffed up and used to the government cheese, then they pull the subsidy or grants. This is exactly what happened with Bubba J. Clinton’s “100,000 new cops” deal. The funding was for only five years… and then that ran out, then lots of localities were on the hook to keep funding the expansion of payrolls.

  13. avatar CCC says:

    They delivered a Caiman MRAP to Culpeper County recently. The Sheriff gave a “state of the Sheriff’s office” address about it, “no it isn’t for confiscating peoples guns”. He then said it would be used by the Special Operations Division’s “operators” to keep them safe in “active shooter or high risk” situations. There have been zero of those here and zero need for “operators”. The vehicle is particularly unsuitable for this area and is essentially roadbound, with some roads off limits because the bridges won’t hold its 18 tons and septic tanks on almost every property. A giant waste of resources and just more proof that the move from peace officer to Law Enforcement has fundamentally changed the relationship between the people and the government even in rural America.

    1. avatar KingSarc48265 says:

      I will literally die of laughter if I see video of one of these filled with jackboots take a swim in somebody’s poo tank. Saw a tree spade that had dropped in one a few years back. Alot of crabby faces, an irate homeowner, and a wrecker driver scratching his head.

  14. avatar S.CROCK says:

    “I say send ‘em MRAPs! And get them out on patrol ASAP. The sooner Americans see the danger of a militarized police they sooner they’ll move to stop the SWAT team trend in its tracks. At least in theory”

    i don’t think this will happen. Americans are to sleepy to wake up and realize what is happening. many Americans (even strong supporters of the constitution) if they saw a mrap in action would probably think it is justified. they would just say well it was probably a drug bust and our cul de sac is safer without these people. or if they don’t convince themselves they are now safer, the media would create convincing lie to put you on the swats side.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      What gun owners need to realize is that there is about 40% of the US population that have the right to vote who are dumber than a sack of hammer handles. We’re talking industrial-grade stupidity in spades here.

      I’ve seen surveys done by the gasbags in the mainstream media in the 90’s and 00’s, wherein the media was surprised to find out that American gun owners, on the whole, were a) of higher income, b) of higher education, c) more well read than average Americans. Having been around gun people my entire life, these findings were no surprise to me, as they would be no surprise to anyone here.

      The consequence of this is that people who don’t own guns are therefore the flip side of the statistical coin: poorer, dumber, and much less informed than gun owners. I’m sure the cops know this, and it is to these people they appeal for their toys, budgets and laws.

  15. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

    I expect none of these sheriffs has considered the possibility that home grown insurgents might have means to neutralize their new toys that the rag heads in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t have. Pretty much sure there are a lot more 60 foot tall white pines along the road in Warren County than there were in Bagdad or Kabul. Just saying. How about plugging up the air intakes with spray foam insulation. I imagine that’s a little easier to come by in Lake George than it was in the sand box. It’s kinda depressing really the lack of imagination some folks have. Of course we could outlaw trees over 6 feet tall and register all the cans of Great Stuff but that’s a pretty slippery slope don’t you think.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Then there’s always the low-tech MRAP killer – Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. Apply liberally to each windshield panel, and presto, you’re blind [can’t roll down the side windows to look out, remember?]! Hitting the wipers just makes the gooey mess worse.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Hmmm. I suddenly have a thought of jelly donuts being flung at police vehicles.

      2. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

        And Hershey’s chocolate syrup is a lot easier to find on this side of the pond too.

  16. avatar Branden says:

    I’m a little confused here… I get that an MRAP is, generally speaking, ridiculously expensive overkill, but being a resident of Los Angeles, the knee-jerk vitriol towards SWAT doesn’t make sense to me. In small town middle America I can see why a fully equipped SWAT team might be unnecessary, but out here, the amount of ex-Soviet (or not, thanks ATF) hardware that can be purchased for a few hundred bucks and a phone call is just staggering. The reality is that in events such as the infamous North Hollywood bank shootout, unless your EDC includes a plate carrier, even armed citizens can only stall until *gasp* SWAT arrives. You know, the militarized police force with the equipment to deal with armored threats firing full or intermediate rifle cartridges. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I agree with California’s encyclopedia-thick book of firearm restrictions, or that the boys in blue are above reproach in all cases. However, for a city like this, with the cartels ready and willing to defend their cash flow, can the same argument for a SWAT-less police force be made?

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      And that’s why the post was about little Lake George in Warren County, and not about Los Angeles.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      If good citizens could keep loaded rifles handy in their cars, we wouldn’t need to figure out how to arm the police for an encounter with heavily armed criminals. Why you ask? Because good citizens are everywhere and could stop the criminals before they get any momentum.

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      There is no fix for the Ca metros areas (or those dumb enough to live in such hives).

    4. avatar Michael G Marriam says:

      Ya well if you lived in a free state you wouldn’t need SWAT teams. Blood might run in the streets for awhile but it’s the old dangerous liberty vs peacefully servitude trade off. Not everyone would need to grow a pair and start protecting their own liberty, just enough to keep the psychos and bangers looking over their shoulders.

  17. avatar miforest says:

    all that military hardware will come in handy for the authorities if some utterly unforeseeable event comes up that causes unrest. Maybe like ….. oh……. a currency collapse of banking collapse caused by printing too much currency . I know our government would never let something like that hap[pen, but it’s interesting to speculate some times. And those million round ammo orders by DHS last year, just practice folks.
    It’s not like anyone can predict the future though.

  18. avatar calvin says:

    Armor must be supported by infantry: Budapest v Red Army for example. These things are useless for anything beyond intimidation. With all the mods they aren’t even going to make for good cover. But don’t tell them. I kinda like the tactics gap.

    1. avatar DJ says:

      One of the more interesting things I recall about that uprising, the residents were able to stop whole armor columns by upending pie plates on the road and then sniping at any crewmen who tried to pop a hatch to investigate the “antitank mines” in the road.

      1. avatar Jason Lynch says:

        And then the tank columns started putting HE shells and HMG fire into the buildings flanking the roads, until the sniping stopped… and Hungary remained firmly under the Communist thumb for another forty years or thereabouts.

        Good drills and a brave effort from the rebels, but not a plan to follow exactly.

        1. avatar Anonymous says:

          So what is your plan Jason?

      2. avatar Anonymous says:

        That is correct and was a very good strategy. A lone tank is easily defeated by infantry. Easily. Armor needs support, or they will be lost. A tank can be easily overcome with just Molotov cocktails. They are a metal can on wheels or tracks and the occupants must come out when it gets too hot inside.

        http://www.angelfire.com/tx4/bustersbattery/militrivia/MILITRIVIA55.html

    2. avatar Ardent says:

      Calvin is spot on. These things are a monster if you’re facing one out your living room window but are essentially useless against even a squad sized force with minimal organization and training and armed only with what is readily available. Unsupported and alone a MRAP could readily be reduced or forced to retreat by a single rifleman. Bullet Proof Glass doesn’t stay that way permanently when under direct fire, and there the defensive options basically include either dismounting from the side not under fire (in which case you’re facing dismounted light infantry and not an armored vehicle) or firing from the turret (meaning you know exactly where you’re taking fire from and where to return it). Just a few rounds can blind the driver by crazing the glass of his windshield and as pointed out, syrup, motor oil and etc can be deployed to blind the driver/crew.

      An MRAP isn’t an fighting vehicle to start with and is even less of one without a mounted MG. It’s an armored taxi meant to get you there alive and rested so you can get out of it to fight.

      Long story short: It’s an intimidating and somewhat functional as a police tool (if over grown, overly expensive and unnecessary) in a few odd situations but as far as facing light infantry from it, it’s a metal coffin. As others have said, you must support armor with infantry or lose your armor.

  19. avatar A-Rod says:

    Anyone else here think that the names of the members of your local SWAT team needs to be public knowledge?

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Define “public knowlege.” Are you talking about “available for the asking” or are you talking about “published in the local paper under the headline ‘Members of the Orlando Police Dept SWAT Team’?”

      Somehow I think you mean the latter, and in that case, no, I don’t think so.

      1. avatar A-Rod says:

        Both and why not? You mean you want a completely anonymous LEO to have no accountability? Police Officer are public servents, not secret paramilitary goon squad.

        If my name and address is on a public database of concealed carry permit holders then why not add the police officers and SWAT members.

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          My point was when someone says “should be publicly available” in this context, they don’t just mean available for the asking or subject to an FOIA request, they are usually loons who think that the newspaper should run a monthly article listing the names of all of them. It’s just stupid.

          And if your name is on a public database of concealed carry holders, well, sorry. I live in a state with legislators that had the forethought to exempt that list from the Florida Sunshine (government transparency) Laws. Not only is my name exempt from public disclosure, there are actual criminal penalties for the illicit use or publication of that information. Maybe you should work on the legislators where you live so that’s not a problem for you anymore.

        2. avatar Roscoe says:

          @ A-Rod
          No, such information should not be readily available, period. The reasons are obvious.

          Neither should identifying information on CC.

          Any sensitive information that puts a person at risk should be closely guarded.

        3. avatar A-Rod says:

          Maybe I should have phrased it as ‘Matter of Public Record’.

        4. avatar Matt in FL says:

          That makes some sense, I suppose. I can also see the need for personal security. I suppose it’s a sliding scale: the more accountability you feel like they have for their actions, the less you need to know about them individually. I’ve never tried to find out, so I don’t know how close-hold that information is usually kept.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I firmly believe the name and compensation of every public employee should be printed in the newspaper of record for the local area, every month. Every expenditure disbursement and incoming tax revenue payment should also be published. Every tax delinquency should also be published, every month.

      I’ve lived in communities that did this, and it keeps people on top of spending boondoggles at the local government level.

  20. avatar The Last Marine out says:

    You did know they are making thousands more M1 Abrams tanks then the Army can use or wants…..Congress just voted keep making them ! It’s good for the country and when warehouse space runs out , Wonder who gets the extra tanks ?? After all it’s only tax money ! May be they will have a public surplus sale on the M1 tank!

    1. avatar miforest says:

      they could take the turrents off and sell them as Kickin’ ATV’s

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      As much as I would love to see M1 tanks sold by the CMP, I suspect the excess will eventually be sold (or given as bribes) to “friendly” countries.

      But the important thing is, by continuing to dump billions into a stockpile of tanks we’ll never have a need for, they kept a few hundred jobs in some well-connected Congressman’s district!

    3. avatar DJ says:

      A lot of it is politics, but once those lines shut down the tolling is going to be destroyed, and we won’t have a capability to produce heavy armor at all. There’s a valid strategic reason to keep it running at a minimum rate and putting the vehicles into war stock.

      It’s just like what happened with the F-22. If we needed to make more tomorrow, we couldn’t. The tooling is gone, the engineers and line workers have moved onto other projects. We’d be starting over from scratch.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Tools and machinery don’t just evaporate when they’re turned off. Seems to me it would be easier to warehouse the machinery than to keep building products that are not needed, and likely won’t be needed within the useful lifetime of the product. Yes, it would take time to bring the lines back into production, train workers, etc. But it might be a good thing if America didn’t have a huge stockpile of arms and armor scattered all over the planet. Maybe we wouldn’t be so eager to use them. It’s the same problem as the SWAT teams popping up in every podunk county. If you have a toy, you want to play with it. So we have a foreign policy predicated on picking fights in every backwards-ass shithole whose leaders we disagree with.

        1. avatar DJ says:

          Umm..no, they don’t evaporate. They are sold for scrap.

          There is machinery used on that line that has no other application than to produce parts for heavy armored vehicles. As soon as it is no longer in use the plant is going to sell it for scrap and repurpose the line to produce something they can make money on – toasters, predator drones, idunno, but not heavy armor – the only heavy armor customer in the US is the US military.

          Once the tooling is gone and the line has been repurposed, it’s game over if you need more MBTs or a new MBT tomorrow. And that’s exactly what the company will do when the line and the tooling is no longer in use.

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          I understand that. But if we’re just going to stockpile and store the tanks, rather than use them, wouldn’t it make more sense to just warehouse the machinery? Then you don’t have a bunch of tanks you’ll never use, but you retain the capacity to produce them, should you ever need to. You buy enough tanks or planes or whatever for training and readiness needs, and if someone starts a war, then you ramp up production as needed. Sure, there will be some delay in bringing the machinery back on line, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you believe in a non-aggressive foreign policy.

          If there’s no ongoing war that necessitate building the vehicles, it seems like a better use of taxpayer money to purchase the machinery from the company, rather than buy a bunch of tanks that will themselves eventually be sold for scrap, after sitting unused for a couple decades.

          Then again, I’m one of those crazy guys who thinks the founding fathers’ distrust of a standing army and faith in a citizen militia were pretty good ideas.

        3. avatar The Last Marine out says:

          You must understand the Neo-cons.. FEAR peace, Yes they want war and view it as good for the country (jobs), they want war with Iran, Russia , China , North Korea, it’s not the other way around and WAR props up the FED’s petro dollar, this way they control the people and all else, and the ENDgame is the NEW WORLD ORDER… Welcome to the BRAVE NEW WORLD… it’s a FACT!

  21. avatar gs650g says:

    No such thing as a free puppy. Or a free MRAP either.

  22. avatar Narcoossee says:

    RF – I think you may missed the point – now that “assault weapons” (whatever that means) have been effectively banned, the next target of the NY Civilian Disarmament folks has been moved to “high powered hunting rifles”.

    Slippery slope, etc.

    1. avatar DanRRZ says:

      One of my biggest concerns in reading this as well. Those words coming from his mouth can surely i ignite the libtards.

      A lot of hunters rolled with the SAFE act as it did not primarily affect their world, but an attempt at restricting large caliber hunting rifles would incite riots. Contrary to the the overall conception of NY, once you get north of the city there are a lot of gun toting country folk cruising around in trucks, myself included.

      1. avatar gs650g says:

        Riots? Dream on. No one is going to lose their seat over SAFE and the next round will leave you with arrows

  23. avatar Hank says:

    Warren county is two things: a conservative, red county, and about as peaceful a place as you can find on this planet. This is ludicrous. It’s either conspiracy theory fodder, a colossal waste of money to boost a Sheriff’s ego, or both.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I’ve spent a lot of time in the Lake George area. I can’t imagine a less dangerous place. Unless T-Shirt shops are considered a danger.

      What can be dangerous is the lake. You don’t want to be on it between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

  24. Nothing says, “I’m the government and I’m here to help you” like a highly armored vehicle designed to transport shock troops that kick down doors and execute people without a trial.

    1. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

      I’d like to see some wise cracker stencil that on the side of one of these things.

      1. avatar DJ says:

        Jackson Country Sheriff’s MRAP has a smiley face decal on the rear hatch.

  25. avatar BillC says:

    Funny thing is $50 of ammonium nitrate mixed with either diesel or aluminum powder can disable these $500,000 vehicles. Occupants will probably be okay, if they are securely buckled up and are wearing helmets. But we know that all cops follow the rules, right?

    1. avatar ZM 1306 says:

      I was thinking of a 55Gal drum on the underside of a bridge. If you were to plan a ruckus that would get the MRAP heading your way… to bad its path could not be predicted like by weight limits on the bridges and what not….

      I really want a tank, just yes. I will buy that for a dollar!

    2. avatar Patriot says:

      Isn’t chemistry fun?

      1. avatar BillC says:

        It is, and it’s not even rocket science.

  26. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    Why just last June while traveling in Western China I saw a couple of hardened vehicles tooling down the highway beside our bus. There were some ethnic groups in a nearby city that were making noises the government didn’t like. I’m sure our government would never respond that way. Right?

  27. avatar Ralph says:

    The police have been an occupying army for a long time. The difference is that they’re out of the closet now. No more pretenses, no more of that absurd Officer Friendly crap. These morons think that they’re Judge Dredd.

    1. avatar miforest says:

      100% correct .

  28. avatar Paul B says:

    Hmm, I can have an M1A1 Tank or a MRAP. I think I will take tank every time.

    No, I do not think SWAT teams need an MRAP. The MRAP was created to solve a problem that is not in evidence here. If it was, an MRAP would not stand a chance.

  29. avatar Pete says:

    This is seriously criminal mismanagement. You should be kicked out of office for saying “it’s free” then lining up 70k freaking dollars to tool it up for you. >: |

    When will this nonsense STOP?

    1. avatar Duke of Sharon says:

      Only when deficit spending stops. Doing dumb things hurts; but so long as the ruling class can ensure that it hurts later and not now, they will keep doing dumb things. Being dumb now should hurt now. So long as they can buy today’s votes with tomorrow’s money, this will not stop.

  30. avatar the ruester says:

    Sorry, way off topic, but this is just the greatest thing I’ve ever seen and I had to share it.
    (Note, this video is not racist by liberal standards because the narrator is also black.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo_FYVwIeaY

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Wow. Just wow. That was kind of amazing. You really need to watch this. I haven’t seen this much sense in a video since… I don’t know when.

      “So let me tell you white folks this: since they got a game called ‘Knockout,’ you know how you stop the game of Knockout? Start your own game, white folks. Call it ‘Shootout.’ I wouldn’t feel bad. I think every one, every one of the people involved in the game needs to be shot where they stand. You walk up on somebody try to punch them in the face, you deserve to be shot where you stand.

      Let’s hope everybody heard what I said: … if you’re involved in this “game” and you walk up on somebody to knock them out, I hope to God they carry a gun, and they shoot you out. Again, white folks, want to stop Knockout? Start playin’ Shootout.”

      {drops the mic}

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      That was some seriously raw sh1t.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        But it was worth the watch, though, right?

    3. avatar Anonymous says:

      “You knock’em out… hit’em with a blow… and you take their belongings”

      “whats the point?” – “It’s a macho thing” – “It’s just for fun”

      That narrator was awesome. I can’t believe he referred to them as “nigglets.” That was unexpected.

      This would end quickly if everyone carried. But… moms demand action… believes teens should be able to knock random people out (even though that’s illegal). After-all, most teens will be long gone by the time the cops arrive to scoop the guy off the pavement. But… if some kids get shot and killed… games over… wow maybe that wasn’t funny after all.

      MLK fought hard to make the African american the best they could be. MLK would have cried over this.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        “MLK would have cried over this.”

        POINT AND MATCH!

    4. avatar 45&4WD says:

      http://youtu.be/76dLvF2EZRA

      Just a few days later. Love it.

    5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      That man is talking some serious common sense.

      Sadly, common sense is in a helluva short supply these days.

  31. avatar Roscoe says:

    Anybody notice that Michalski, the ex NYC cop that Warren County SWAT went after, had nothing left to lose?

    Clearly a sad situation.

  32. avatar David says:

    I remember growing up as a child, a man robbed a bank in one of the nearby smaller towns. The case was solved when he exited the bank. A local citizen had seen him enter the bank with a gun, when the man left, he was ventilated by 3 good ole boys and their hunting rifles. No charges, heroes in the newspapers, and quite a while before any new bank robberies took place around this county. No MRAP, no SWAT, just armed American citizens who were doing their duty. Seriously is the govt, trying to force the American people to ‘up-arm’ to protect themselves. Never thought I might need a .50 cal (like I could carry it or afford to shoot it).

  33. avatar Roger says:

    Look on the bright side. If we’re ever invaded by North Korea every podunk town and backwater will have military equipment.

  34. avatar Patriot says:

    Nothing a little iron-oxide and aluminum powder can’t take care of.

  35. avatar Anonymous says:

    Looks like they have too many tax dollars. When they spend “my/our” money with no regard or reason then maybe I need to claim less income. I feel cheated, because there was a lot I could have done with that money – like a college trust fund.

  36. avatar 45&4WD says:

    I honestly don’t have anything against law enforcement having armored transport vehicles, I really don’t. But this ex-military MRAP type stuff is absurd. Expensive to retrofit, expensive to operate, and expensive to maintain. The image they give off is the wrong one. The Brinks style trucks were fine… Based off common chassis and drivetrains, and obviously efficient enough (or else there wouldn’t be a million of them running around with the worlds money).

    I’m not worried Sheriff Griffith is going to invade Mayberry, but I do worry that his MRAP may accidentally run over Aunt Bee.

  37. avatar Ralph says:

    In one generation, we’ve gone from Sheriff Andy Taylor to Detective Vic Mackey. Art imitates life.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Has anyone informed Undersheriff Lamouree that someone stole his hair?

  38. avatar Cold Frog says:

    There is no reason why law enforcement need that kind of equipment in their inventory.

  39. avatar Jeh says:

    Sheriff Apple, when I hear that I think of an apple with a police uniform and sunglasses like a Microsoft word insert.

  40. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    Sorry to sound confrontational, in my time in the US Army I was taught many methods for “killing” armor, and the majority of them were with materials outside standard TO&E since the screaming Soviet Hordes would take out our supply points rather quickly. Simple fact is the most dangerous weapon you will ever face is the human brain, especially if it resides in the body of a human determined NOT to be subjugated by the adherents of an odious, anti-human ideology, whether they be Leftist Progressives, Islamic Caliphate-ists or the armed segment of your local Hairy Fishnuts commune. Roll on me and mine with armor? You best be prepared to burn in it cause I ain’t signatory to the UN Treaty banning incendiary weapons.

    Una Salus Victus Nullam Sperare Salutem

  41. They really should have to pay for those things, reimburse the federal treasury. Of course, if they had to do that they probably wouldn’t be able to get them. A person might wonder why the feds aren’t charging for them.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      That would be because they are “FREE” to the feds. They are not paid for by the feds. They are paid by you and me. If the fed’s run out of money they just pass some legislation for them to obtain more. As of recent this legislation is based on tobacco and healthcare, but now some gun regulation is coming through on federal and state level which would allow more money to flow out of our pockets and into theirs.

  42. avatar Ray says:

    I think any time these are seen on the streets they deserve a constitutionally protected middle finger salute.

  43. avatar niceguns says:

    All hese posts about cost, since when does the government care about that? If they did we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. SNAFU…

  44. avatar Orton Fallswell says:

    Soviets took out German tanks with bottles of gasoline. These things are not impregnable and they require outside support to protect them. However it does appear the police state is extremely paranoid.

  45. avatar Andy E says:

    Um… Wouldn’t a few well placed shots to the tires stop it dead? They’re pointless and expensive to run stateside. Again, shoot the tires out from a block or two down. Its a sitting duck as would be all inside. Shoot the tires then a homemade grenade launcher via a shotgun. Dumb, dumb, dumb cops to think these things are worth having.

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      Actually fire is your friend when dealing with such as this, get it burning and pick them off as they try to escape.

  46. avatar Andy E says:

    The grenade would get it on fire from a distance which is ideal when dealing any enemy in any form. Bring it to a stop, get the oven going and yes pick off any that escape or attempt to.

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      Sorry, wrong thread.

    2. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      OK, to this thread! Grenades, usually, don’t set stuff on fire. Unless you got your hands on some incendiary “grenades”, which unless you have white phosphorus are hard to get anymore, pretty sure USG does not carry any thermite charges under 10 pounds anymore. So you gonna have to make your own, a rather involved process, unless you are making “napalm”, which is rather simple and self-explanatory when you think on it a while.

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