Law enforcement agencies around the country are taking advantage of military surplus programs that bring in used wartime equipment to better supply their local departments.
The Iowa-based Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is the newest name on that list of local agencies.
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek told the Iowa City Press-Citizen that his sheriff’s office was the recent recipient of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, “which bears a stamp indicating military service in Kuwait.”
The MRAP, attained through the Law Enforcement Support Office 1033 surplus program, has a value of $773,000, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
Local officials with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Department and police departments in Iowa City, Coralville, University of Iowa and North Liberty pooled $3,500 to ship the MRAP from Texas and another $5,000 to paint it, Pulkrabek said, adding that those non-taxpayer funds came from local drug forfeiture money.
For local, tactical purposes, MRAPs, like the one received in Johnson County, are usually used in extreme circumstances.
“It’s a tool in the toolbox that we hope we never use,” Pulkrabek told the Iowa City Press-Citizen.