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Anchorage Police To Get Ex-Military Vehicles

By Garrett Turner, Investigative Environmental Reporter, gturner@ktuu.com
Published On: Jan 09 2014 10:00:00 AM AKST
Updated On: Jan 10 2014 07:07:34 AM AKST

The U.S. Army is donating two Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) military vehicles to the Anchorage Police Department. These vehicles may be more at home in a war zone than on the streets of Anchorage, but APD says they have a specific use in mind. 

The military uses them, and soon you may see one on the streets of Anchorage: Mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs.

The military has a surplus of MRAPs, and is donating them to qualified law enforcement agencies -- including the Anchorage Police Department.

Hundreds of the massive vehicles, built with high road clearance and armored V-shaped undersides to protect troops from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, are available from the Department of Defense.

APD members recently traveled to Fairbanks' Fort Wainwright to view a few MRAPs, and the department is now receiving two at no cost to the city. APD Sgt. Shaun Henry says, other than continuous maintenance for the vehicle, the MRAPs won’t cost Anchorage a dime.

"It's just a resource," Henry said. "It's one of those I don't see being used frequently at all -- but occasionally, on those really bad situations, it'd be nice to have."

While the military used the MRAPs to defend service members against improvised explosive devices, Anchorage police have a different purpose in mind. Currently APD only has one armored vehicle, but Henry says there have been several situations in the past where subjects barricaded themselves in buildings with rifles.

On those occasions, he says an MRAP would be valuable.

"The guys in the back of the house don't have anything besides police cars to hunker down behind,” Henry said. "So having one of these in that type of instance would give us the option to have one of these in the back of the house also."

While the MRAPs on the streets of Anchorage will be far from the streets of Iraq, they'll still be used to accomplish a goal similar to its original purpose: protecting those on the front line.