QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (AP) — Coming soon to your local sheriff: 18-ton, armor-protected military fighting vehicles that were once the U.S. answer to roadside bombs during the Iraq war.
The hulking vehicles were built for about $500,000 each at the height of the war. They are among the biggest pieces of equipment that the Defense Department is giving free to law enforcement agencies under a national military surplus program.
Police and sheriff’s departments nationwide have scooped up 165 of the so-called MRAP trucks since they became available this summer. That includes eight in New York state.
Sheriffs say the MRAPS are a choice vehicle should SWAT teams need to get close to a shooter or rescue bystanders.
But some critics are questioning the militarization of police, including armored vehicles too big to travel on some bridges and roadways.