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June 26, 2018 - 6:19pm

City moving forward, perhaps with county help, on request for MRAP from military

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

The police department's pitch for a military-surplus armored personnel carrier got a favorable hearing from the Batavia City Council on Monday evening during a conference meeting.

The council will be asked to approve an application from the city for such a vehicle, an MRAP (Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected), through the military's program for releasing decommissioned equipment to civilian law enforcement.

Chief Police Shawn Heubusch opened the meeting by providing background on the Emergency Response Team and explaining how such a vehicle might be used in the county.

The ERT was formed as a city-only unit in 1997. County deputies joined the unit in 2007.

The purpose of the ERT is to respond to situations that are beyond the capability of routine patrols, such as high-risk warrants and arrests, barricaded subjects and hostage situations.

Currently, the transport vehicle for ERT is a 2010 Ford Cube Fan. It is not four-wheel drive, is not a rescue vehicle, and offers no ballistic protection.

On Dec. 1, 2016 when Kyle Johnson killed a neighbor on Selden Road, set his own house on fire, and then fired on responding emergency personnel, one factor in bringing the situation to a peaceful conclusion was a Monore County officer happened to hear the police traffic on his emergency radio that morning and took matters into his own hands to muster his county's SWAT team and their two armored vehicles to assist.

It was one of those vehicles that were able to get close enough to Johnson, as he paced near his smoldering home with a long rifle in his hands, Heubusch said, that enabled the negotiations that led to his eventual surrender.

Sgt. Chris Camp is the current ERT commander, responsible for all of the administration and training of the unit, and he researched the options for an armored vehicle.

He spec'd out a Lenco Bearcat, which is a purpose-made armored rescue vehicle for law enforcement. The base price for a new one is $195,000. Camp added in options he thought were needed for our climate and terrain and that brought the price up to $255,000.

He then researched the option of the city acquiring a surplus MRAP. The military gives away these $650,000 vehicles to law enforcement agencies once they've been decommissioned. Livingstone, Saratoga and Warren counties in New York have all received one.

Most likely, a decommissioned vehicle will come available in California, which was the case for Livingston and Saratoga, making the transportation cost about $7,000 (Warran was lucky and retrieved its vehicle from Ft. Drum).

Outfitting the vehicle for law enforcement would cost from $7,000 to $12,000.

There may also be repairs necessary -- some of these vehicles have been sitting for awhile and need new batteries and tires. Livingston had to replace the fuel system on its MRAP.

Fortunately, the chassis and engines are International, just like the city's current dump trucks, so local vehicle maintenance can handle them, but there's also a former military MRAP mechanic working for Livingston County.

The vehicle would need to be stored, by government regulation, in a secure location. That would mean it couldn't be parked behind the police station, as the current transportation van is, so it would be stored at the city's vehicle maintence yard or at the Sheriff's Office, at least until, and if, Batavia PD gets a new headquarters.

County legislators Gary Maha and Marianne Clattenburg, along with Sheriff Bill Sheron, where in the audience for the presentation.

Heubusch indicated he expects the County to split the costs of the MRAP but the Legislature would need to approve the expense.

The city has in its asset forfeiture fund a little more than $10,000. That money can only be used for law enforcement purposes and Heubusch said he would anticipate using that money for the MRAP if one were awarded to the city.

Brian Graz
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Joined: Sep 18 2010 - 4:57pm

Does Batavia/Genesee County really need this??!!! The NYSP already have one {I'm sure they have several statewide that can be easily deployed}. Why not use the money (wasted) {yes I realize it is not a large amount} for enhancing protection of our schools... ?

david spaulding
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Last seen: 3 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: Sep 12 2011 - 5:46pm

No they don't need it, it's one of those ego things......hey, look at me don't I look bad ass in this over kill military vehicle? I'm driving around looking for a fight.......Look out you peons I run this town.

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