WICHITA, Kansas – Throughout the country, it’s becoming a more common sight: military vehicles being used by local law enforcement, and Sedgwick County is no different.
“It is not an emergency response vehicle we are not going to be driving 100 mph in the MRAP down the highway,” says Lt. Dave Mattingly with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, “that’s not what it’s designed for.”
The MRAP, or mine resistant, ambush protected armored vehicle, is popping up all across the country with 6 currently in Kansas, but sheriff’s officials say it’s filling a major gap in their ability to protect.
Since being brought to the area, the MRAP has been used three times, once in Park City for a shooting and the other times for warrants.
“It is there to protect the deputies, it is there to protect the public,” Mattingly says. “If somebody’s injured, there are shots being fired, we can’t safely enter that environment, now we have something we can get in there and rescue somebody and bring them back to the paramedics.”
The vehicles carry a hefty price tag, but through the military surplus program the county was able to receive one without any cost.
“We have been looking at armored vehicles for some time and they cost somewhere around $750,000 if you are to purchase one specifically designed for law enforcement.”
So far, maintenance has cost $15,000, but that bill, and any future care, will be paid out of the asset forfeiture fund, laying it strictly on the hands of the sheriff’s office.
“They have helicopters, you can get aircraft, but again, you are having to come up with the maintenance costs so those are things that we don’t need, the MRAP is something we feel that we do need, we have an obligation to our deputies to try and do everything we can to keep them safe.”