By Gary Budzak
The City of Delaware’s Police Department has obtained an armored vehicle that its chief said will only be used for “protective purposes.”
The city’s website and Facebook page posted on July 15 that the department now has “a MaxxPro mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle that was demilitarized for law enforcement use. The city’s only cost was $2,600 to transport the vehicle and that was paid for with money seized from drug dealers.”
The MRAP, with 24,000 miles on it, was obtained for free through the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, which provides surplus military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. On May 12, Delaware City Council approved a resolution for the department to continue in the 1033 Program. Otherwise, the MRAP that Delaware has would cost $689,000.
“I felt like we should get that vehicle to protect officers and the public from very specific, high-risk situations,” said Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski.
The city said those incidents would include “hostage and barricade incidents; sniper-active shots fired incidents; high-risk rescue or evacuations and high-risk warrant service.”
It will also be used by a countywide tactical unit for those same purposes, Pijanowski said.
“This equipment is a tool for those situations where either we are in harm’s way or the public is in harm’s way and we need to get out of harm’s way,” Pijanowski said. “It’s not a policing philosophy. I can’t emphasize that enough.”
In the coming weeks, residents may see police training in the MRAP on the streets of Delaware, and it will receive maintenance and a paint job.
Pijanowski said he understands that some people may be concerned about the police using military equipment.
“I think the public needs to know we got this piece of equipment, but it’s not the face of the Delaware Police Department,” he said. “I struggled with the decision, but I just want to protect my guys, and I want to protect the public.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.