Battlefield vehicle in MPD's arsenal built to save lives

SCSO's MRAP (Source: WMC Action News 5)
SCSO's MRAP (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new tool in Memphis Police Department's arsenal is made to help officers save lives during floods, active shootings, and more.

The new tool looks menacing, but you should not fear it. It's called MRAP.

MRAPs are massive vehicles, originally designed for the U.S. military to use on the battlefield.

"If we had an active shooter and we had to go get kids out of school or we had to get individuals or citizens out of school who are coming under fire...If we could get that vehicle in, you could get those people," Col. Samuel Hines said.

Hines said the department's MRAP is currently only being utilized during search and rescue operations.

"We're not using this to go on the offensive mode. We have other equipment we can utilize if we have to go offensive or tact," Hines said.

MPD is not the only local law enforcement agency that has one. Shelby County Sheriff's Office also has an MRAP.

Sergeant Jason Long with the Sheriff's Office SWAT team said the actual design of the MRAP is what makes it such a vital asset.

"It's just a really big bulletproof vest. There's nothing offensive on it whatsoever," Long said.

"If you can think back to the Dallas PD situation, here's where these officers were being attacked from a sniper, so, this would have been a good vehicle to use as a shield to go up and get their officers," Hines said.

The MRAP can even be used to rescue someone from a 2nd story. Deputies can go inside this vehicle, climb up the turret and help pull someone into safety.

The MRAP can also be used to help rescue people during floods.

The large wheels and air tight doors allow the vehicle to travel through tough terrain and high water. Officers can pull over to the building, climb out with a stretcher, and help victims inside.

"If we had storms, tornadoes, that's a vehicle that can get to people," Hines said.

The 18-ton machine created to protect soldiers from improvised explosive devices now protects everyday Mid-Southerners and the officers sworn to serve them.

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