South Jordan’s bullet-proof vehicle helps keep public, officers safe, police chief says
Jul 31, 2018 04:25PM
● By Jana Klopsch
The South Jordan Police Department brought its mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle to City Hall on July 17. The department obtained the MRAP through a U.S. military program that distributes surplus equipment to law-enforcement agencies. (Pamela Manson/City Journals)
By Pamela Manson | [email protected]
When he heard that police officers in Herriman were trying to evacuate the neighbors of an armed man who had barricaded himself in his home, South Jordan police Chief Jeff Carr offered his department’s help.
The chief deployed SWAT members in a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, and they were able to rescue a family at their house and move them away from the danger.
“It’s a giant bullet-proof vest, if you will, that allows us to do those things in a more safe manner,” Carr told South Jordan City Council members at a July 17 study meeting in an update on the vehicle.
He said the MRAP also can be used to safely deliver officers to a location where they can begin an operation. In addition, the vehicle had been used a few times to deliver warrants “just to be there in the event that something goes bad.”
The council approved using $40,000 to purchase and refurbish a rescue vehicle, which was purchased in late 2016. Buying a civilian-type unit would have cost $200,000 to $300,000, Carr said, so he got the MRAP under a U.S. military program that distributes surplus equipment to law-enforcement agencies.
The Defense Logistics Agency, the military agency that handles the equipment transfers, set the acquisition value of South Jordan’s MRAP at $658,000, records show.
The 1033 Program has raised concerns about the militarization of local police departments, but Carr said the MRAP is a “defensive tool.” The vehicle can be used by other agencies when they need it, he added.
In addition to hearing about the MRAP, the council members took a spin around the block in the vehicle, driven by a SWAT member.
Councilmember Jason McGuire said the ride was a little bouncy, but he was impressed by how well the vehicle handled overall. And Councilmember Tamara Zander said the MRAP moves like a tank.
“It’s very solid,” Zander said. “I’m glad we have something like this to help people get out of harm’s way.”
DLA records show that more than 50 Utah law enforcement agencies have received surplus gear, including rifles and pistols.
Eleven agencies in the state — among them the Hurricane Police Department, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Utah Highway Patrol — have an MRAP.