What weights over 40,000 pounds, can shrug off a rocket-propelled grenade, and is now owned by the Lyon County Sheriff's Department?
The mine-resistant, ambush protection vehicle, or MRAP, is the new tool recently acquired by the Sheriff's Department for use in emergency scenarios. The MRAP was donated to them by the Department of Defense, and Detective Travis Mishler said no taxpayer money was used to pick it up. Drug forfeiture money was used to pay expenses to Fort Carson, Colorado, to pick up the vehicle. Sheriff Jeff Cope:
KVOE News was given exclusive access to the MRAP, and was allowed to take it for a test drive. News Director Chuck Samples was impressed with how simple it was to operate.
Both Samples and KVOE News Anchor AJ Dome drove it through a slow-speed slalom course, and at higher speeds along an abandoned stretch of pavement. Levitating seats -- part of the vehicle's blast protection -- were surprisingly comfortable, and an automatic Allison transmission made it as easy to drive as any large truck.
Mishler said he hopes the sheer size and presence of the MRAP is enough of a deterrent in any kind of tactical situation. However, the most likely uses for the vehicle would include disaster response and ferrying emergency personnel during severe weather. The vehicle could also serve as an emergency ambulance during high-water or heavy snow, since it's equipped with four-wheel drive and a heavy-duty winch.
The department applied and was put on a waiting list to receive the MRAP from the Department of Defense. Cope said part of the application included detailing the need for the vehicle and what it's main purpose would be. Cope said he "hopes we never need it."