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June 13, 2018 - 5:19pm

Chief says armored military vehicle would improve police rescue capabilities at low cost

posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia PD, news, notify, batavia.


Adding a heavily armored vehicle to Batavia PD's fleet of vehicles isn't about taking on a more military appearance, said Chief Shawn Heubusch. It's about saving lives. Even just one life. And at a price the city can afford: free.

Heubusch is preparing a proposal for the City Council so the police department can request a decommissioned, heavily armored vehicle from the U.S. military known as an MRAP, which stands for Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected.

"Do we need a military vehicle?" Heubusch said. "No. We need a Lenco Bearcat. We can’t afford a Lenco Bearcat so what we’re asking for is permission to go and ask a decommissioned MRAP to keep our guys out of harm's way when they enter a hostile situation."

The armor can stop penetration by a .50-caliber round and withstand heavy explosives.

"It’s not the military vehicle necessarily that we need," Heubusch said. "What we need is the ballistic protection."

Law enforcement agencies across the country are lining up for these vehicles as the military takes them out of service and gives them for free to law enforcement agencies and even fire departments.

A Lenco Bearcat costs $250,000. The MRAP is free. It can also do something the Lenco Bearcat can't do: drive into high water to assist in rescues.

"Are we getting shot at every day? Absolutely not," Heubusch said. "But the cost of these vehicles compared to the cost of someone’s life is incomparable."

The vehicle would be used by the county's Emergency Response Team, which is headquartered at Batavia PD. Heubusch discussed the idea briefly with the City Council at Monday's meeting and in response to questions said maintenance of the vehicle would be comparable to a snow plow or dump truck and that while no special license is required for a police officer to drive it, there is a recommended instruction course for drivers of the  vehicle.

He'll bring forward a formal proposal for the city to submit an application for the vehicle at a future council meeting.

Heubusch acknowledged that some people might view obtaining such a vehicle as "militarization of civilian police" and he understands the optics of it but said that is a secondary concern.

"We certainly understand that aspect of it, but the brass tacks of it is, if it can save a life, it can save a life," Heubusch said. "I don’t care what it looks like, nor should anyone else if there’s an active shooter in your neighborhood and we need to get you out of your house so no one is injured in your home."

He added, "we’re not going to be patrolling in this vehicle. It’s not an offensive vehicle that is going to have gun turrets mounted on it or anything like that by any estimation. It’s vehicle that would be used, again, as a rescue vehicle, whether it’s to rescue a police officer or civilians from a hostile situation or a natural disaster."

david spaulding
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Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Sep 12 2011 - 5:46pm

I do believe this military vehicle will need specific maintenance at a cost. It's called a military vehicle for one reason, it is made for the military Not a police department in Batavia. I'm sure the Chief would look good riding down main st. at the 4th of July parade in it. Sorry Chief, a big fat No for your wannabe military police attack vehicle. This citizen calls it Overkill, you don't need it and you know it. Please stop the "if it saves one life" non-sense.

Gary Spencer
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Joined: Feb 18 2009 - 6:57pm


Jacob Paine
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Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Feb 10 2014 - 10:23am

"Rescue capabilities"

Kyle Slocum
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Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: Jan 29 2012 - 11:18pm

Oh, NO! The police will have access to a slow, ungainly, heavy, readily stuck in mud, impracticable and bulletproof vehicle! How will the Republic survive?

I don't know why I am always caught by surprise when people allow ideological dogma to run ahead of their thought processes, but, here we are.

Stop and actually think about what an MRAP is. It is not a weapon. The police can't do anything with an MRAP except reduce getting themselves and bystanders shot in appropriate situations. Because MRAPs are bulletproof: They stop bullets. It can't do anything offensive that any other big heavy vehicle can't do just as well.

For a quarter million dollars they can get a "civilian" bulletproof box on wheels or they can get a "free" one that's painted brown. That is the story.

John Roach
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Last seen: 4 weeks 59 min ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am

Kyle is right, the MRAP is not a fighting vehicle. It's an armored personnel carrier. it carries people

Kyle Slocum
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Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: Jan 29 2012 - 11:18pm

Don't say things like that, John. You'll trigger someone.

Jacob Paine
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Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Feb 10 2014 - 10:23am

If I'm not mistaken it has a machine gun turret on it. Please explain to me how a turret "can't do anything offensive." I know it's fun to quickly jump on some of us "triggered" individuals but maybe look at the image next time where a machine gun is clearly depicted. But that's not a weapon, is it Kyle? Yes, it' is supposedly not to have a turret by estimation but the image says otherwise. Perhaps that is to blame of the publisher of this article. Still, my comment simply pointed out the hilarity that a large metal box with a giant weapon on the top could be suggested to have "rescue capabilities." Apparently you viewed it either as an attack on your ideology or the practicality of this MRAP. Perhaps you're the one whom is triggered?

Ed Hartgrove
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Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: Dec 20 2012 - 11:54am

Jacob. I believe the picture is a "stock" picture of an MRAP. While I have no "proof", I'm fairly confident that the DOD's decommissioned MRAP's aren't being delivered to police agencies with the machine guns in place.

From https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRAP#U.S._law_enforcement_usage
[ Police departments and other agencies in the U.S. can acquire MRAP vehicles through the DLA's 1033 program, which redistributes no longer needed military equipment to state and municipal agencies. Some police departments have picked up surplus MRAPs with no transfer costs or fees. Domestic agencies plan to use them in disaster relief roles, as they can go through flooded areas unlike normal police armored vehicles, and provide security in response to terrorist threats. Some MRAPs used by police forces often have the machine gun turret removed and are repainted black.]

As for your, "...explain to me how a turret "can't do anything offensive.", the "turret" is nothing more than the rotating mechanism on top of the vehicle. I suppose, if someone was in it, long enough, while it was rotating, they might get dizzy (or sick), which could be considered offensive.

John Roach
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Last seen: 4 weeks 59 min ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am

Jacob, you were easily triggered. Ed is right, it is a stock photo. And the turret would be removed from the one the City would get, if it decides to ask for one and be placed on the waiting list.

Kyle Slocum
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Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: Jan 29 2012 - 11:18pm


1) I can't find where in the article it says that Batavia was getting any crew served weapon systems with the MRAP. I think THAT would have been the story, not that they were possibly getting a slow and heavy bulletproof vehicle.

2) I have seen news stories about arrests that have occurred in Western NY showing a picture of an NYPD police car at the top under the headline. Does that mean that NYPD was up in Syracuse arresting people for drugs or does that mean the editor just grabbed a picture of a NY cop car and threw it in there?

Did you think Howard went to Fort Drum or Fort Dix and ran down the exact MRAP that it was proposed that BPD receive? Most people, I suspect including you, wouldn't know what an MRAP was. So Howard grabbed a stock picture of the type to help you get an idea of what was being talked about. That you jumped to the conclusion that it as coming with heavy weapons is on you. Like I said, THAT would be the headline.

3) Turrets are not weapons. They are a mounting point for something you want to be able to traverse up to 180 or 360 degrees. They are used on fire trucks, bucket trucks, cranes, construction equipment, etc.

I figure if the PD keeps the turret, and doesn't just seal it up to keep the inside of the MRAP from getting soaked every time it rains, it might mount a bright search light on it. And, yes, the turret covers leak like a sieve and the interiors condense water like crazy when the temps pass through the dew point.

They may even use the hole as a place to shoot one of the rifles or pistols that they already have. That is no different from doing it across the trunk of a patrol car but much better protection for the officer. Are we to consider patrol car trunk lids offensive weapons now? The front fender? A low wall between houses? Rational fear is healthy and necessary, irrational fear is neither.

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