WATERBURY -- The Vermont State Police is one of over 160 law enforcement agencies across the nation that recently acquired an armored tactical vehicle through the Defense Department’s national military surplus program. The vehicle is being made available to VSP through coordination with the Military’s Law Enforcement Support Office; which offers law enforcement agencies across the country military equipment that is no longer in use that can have a positive impact on civilian law enforcement operations. This particular vehicle is a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle; that can provide lifesaving support to local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies across the state during armed confrontations or other critical incidents.
"It’s a platform that will help troopers get close to and help defuse a dangerous situation without exposing them to life-threatening danger," said Colonel Tom L’Esperance. "It’s a great piece of equipment, however we hope we never need it."
On learning about the new tactical vehicle Representative Donna Sweaney said, "It is imperative that Vermont is prepared for every type of crisis and we look forward to housing it at Windsor Armory. Having a tactical vehicle in the southern part of Vermont will help ensure a rapid response to critical incidents."
The VSP join the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, the Richmond Police Department, the Manchester Police Department, along with other Vermont law enforcement agencies, in being recipients of this program. Each requesting agency must submit a justification letter as to the equipment’s specific intended use. Colonel L’Esperance submitted the request for the MRAP and received the vehicle in mid-December. The cost to the VSP includes the initial transportation of the vehicle from Mississippi, which was under $8,000; along with the cost of necessary customization such as, lights, painting; and vehicle maintenance.
The MRAP vehicle obtained by the Vermont State Police is similar to the Bearcat tactical vehicle obtained in November 2011; which is housed at the Williston Barracks. The MRAP is not yet operational; pending the completion of customization and maintenance.