Tulare Police receives armored vehicle from military

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- According to the U.S. Army, a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, is designed to protect soldiers from improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire threats.

The Tulare Police Department's MRAP weighs at least 45,000 pounds and is nearly 30 feet long and 12 feet tall.

It served the military at one time.

"This vehicle isn't meant to be a show of force or an intimidation tool," said Lt. Jerod Boatman. "It's strictly a defensive tool. This vehicle affords us a certain amount of safety for our officers and members of the community that you can't get otherwise."

In the past, the department has relied on other local agencies when they needed an armored vehicle.

Like in the fall of 2016, when a murder suspect barricaded himself inside a home for hours, firing at officers, hitting one Tulare officer in his ballistic helmet.

That's when Tulare Police decided they needed an armored vehicle of their own.

Nearly three years later, they got one through the 1033 Program, which allows law enforcement agencies to apply for excess military property.

The department used the vehicle just last week when arresting the man suspected of murdering Jesus Marquez at Prosperity Sports Park.

"The officers stood behind the armor of this vehicle and gave him commands until he was put in handcuffs," Boatman said. "Nobody was really put in danger and everybody went home safe. It's perfect. It's an exact example of what we can do with this vehicle and what it's meant for."

It's not something anyone hopes for, but in the event of an attack, officers can rescue people by putting them in the back of the vehicle, which can comfortably seat ten.

This MRAP likely won't encounter any IED's in Tulare, but it could defend against gunfire, possibly saving a life in the process.

The city of Tulare allocated $35,000 for the police department to make the MRAP operational.

The original price tag on the vehicle was more than $700,000.
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