Salisbury Police to deploy armored vehicle

The Salisbury City Council this week approved on second reading acceptance of an armored vehicle for the police department, the first for the agency and third in this area.

The Fruitland Police Department has one and almost two years ago, the sheriff’s office received a large Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle through the Department of Defense’s Law Enforcement program.

Salisbury’s armored vehicle, smaller than the one the sheriff’s office has, was manufactured in 1970, then upgraded in the early 1990s, explained Capt. Rich Kaiser of the Salisbury Police Department.

The black Jeep is “basically a vehicle designed for military police to get in and out of small spaces during combat and patrol,” he said.

“It’s all armored, top and bottom. There’s a porthole that you can pop your head out of,” he said, adding it will be customized for the police department.

When it’s used, it will be by a tactical team deployed, for example, to barricade situations or active shooting. “It will be a unit that is low key. It won’t be used to escalate a situation.  It will more for de-escalation,” he said.

Kaiser said the vehicle is little enough to get into small areas, maybe to move a tactical member closer to an incident. It can remove citizens from areas where there is gun fire, or used in other extreme circumstances.

Although Kaiser said it’s not possible to know how often the vehicle will be needed – and he hopes it’s never necessary — he said the police department “will be ready to roll if we do have to.”

“It’s better to be prepared than not,” Kaiser said, describing the vehicle as smaller than the force’s Chevy Tahoes.

“It’s a good tool for us to be prepared in case there is an incident. Being prepared is a whole lot better than not being prepared, especially when you can get a piece of equipment that is free,” Kaiser said.

Purchased new, it would cost $200,000 t0 $250,000, he said.

The U.S. Army offers the vehicles to law enforcement agencies nationwide, he said, adding, “the program is nothing new.”

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