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Surplus armored vehicles going to area law enforcement


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- The military’s excess equipment is benefitting local law enforcement.

The U.S. government is offering excess Caiman MRAP armored personnel carrier trucks to police and sheriff’s agencies for basically the cost of shipping. That means the Portage County Sheriff’s Department and the Stevens Point Police Department will get a special purpose armored vehicle worth about $170,000 new for about $4,500 each.

Chief Deputy Dan Kontos says their department’s unit has already arrived.   “We had it shipped up from Texas a couple of weeks ago, and we’re starting to go through the initial phases of getting it into operation.”

The Stevens Point Police Department announced they have ordered one from the same program. Kontos admits it is uncommon to have two this close together, but that’s a good thing.  “It is unusual. There was the opportunity for the city to pick one up as well, and it’s being delivered later this week, so we’re looking forward to getting both of those vehicles online. Our two tactical teams work together very closely, so it’s good to have that capability.”

The Caiman vehicles are designed to be bomb resistant, and Kontos says they can also withstand small arms fire. They also have outstanding ground clearance, winches, and six-wheel drive, making them suitable for many rescue situations.  “The vehicles have an unusual ability to get across terrain and through water, so if we have any problems, and Stevens Point is prone to flooding during those times of year, we would have those vehicles available to go in and help rescue people.”

Police Sergeant Tony Babl says the shipping cost is being paid by forfeitures, so it won’t affect the city’s budget. Portage County also paid shipping with forfeiture dollars.