BAY CITY, Mich. — A Michigan county near Saginaw Bay has acquired a massive new military vehicle meant to be solely used for rescue purposes.
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office picked up the vehicle Wednesday from the U.S. Army Reserve Center. The vehicle is a 2008 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected truck that weighs about 39,000 pounds (17,700 kilograms) and stands about a dozen feet (3.6 meters), the Bay City Times reported .
“It’s a great, big safe on wheels,” Sheriff Troy Cunningham said.
Cunningham said the truck will only be used for rescue efforts and not for combat purposes.
“This is here to rescue our officers,” he said. “It’s here to rescue the residents of Bay County.”
He said he was inspired to acquire the vehicle in light of recent barricaded gunman cases in Oakland County and Bay City. Cunningham said officers were pinned down by gunfire in those incidents and that civilians could’ve been injured.
The truck seats eight people and holds a maximum 25,000 pounds (11,300 kilograms).
“If we have to get somebody and get them out safely, that’s what this does,” he said. “Flooding, snowstorms, anywhere we need to go to get somebody to help them, we now have the means to get in and keep the community safer.”
The vehicle is on loan to the sheriff’s office for free thanks to the 1033 Program, which was signed into law in 1996 to allow for surplus military equipment to be transferred to law enforcement agencies.
President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2015 limiting the program and prohibiting police agencies from obtaining some military equipment after the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Cunningham said the vehicle was approved under Obama’s order because he demonstrated a need for the truck.
The truck was picked up the day after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced President Donald Trump signed an executive order rolling back Obama’s implementations. Cunningham said the timing of picking up the truck and Trump’s new order is merely coincidental.
“He’s releasing more the assaultive stuff we don’t have a real need for here,” he said of Trump’s release of military equipment. “This had absolutely nothing to do with his release.”
Cunningham said he hopes the county will never need to use the truck.
Information from: The Bay City Times, http://www.mlive.com/bay-city