TN Police Departments Get Tank-Like Military Vehicles - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

TN Police Departments Get Tank-Like Military Vehicles

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by Adam Ghassemi

GALLATIN, Tenn. It could have been a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but now a 21-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, is on the streets of Gallatin.

"It's like waking up on Christmas morning and having the best present you ever had," said Asst. Chief William Sorrells.

Gallatin Police know if the Department of Defense didn't transfer the vehicles to local law enforcement for free the sticker price alone would make them unobtainable.

"Actually the sticker is still here is $658,000," Sorrells said.

The MRAP is basically a supped-up International Dump Truck with a v-hull to deflect blasts from Improvised Explosive Devices. That's more than enough for the roughly 15 SWAT-style calls Gallatin Police and other Sumner County agencies respond to annually.

"Even the common hunter knows the penetration power of most of the hunting rounds so we didn't have anything to protect the officers while we're deploying gas or doing hostage negotiations," Sorrells added.

When you compare it to the customized 1980s military ambulance they have now with ballistic blankets only one side the MRAP is 360-degrees of reinforced protection. It's almost like they're going from a horse and buggy to a space ship.

Master Patrol Officer James McFadden worked on MRAPs as a military mechanic and now will here at home as well.

"It's so much better just knowing that there's all this protection in between us and somebody trying to hurt us," McFadden said while taking us on a ride along Friday.

Tennessee is one of the first states to get MRAPs from the Department of Defense.  The state's Law Enforcement Support Office, which controls who gets what, says more than 60 departments have applied to get one.

So far only Gallatin, Hendersonville, Mufreesboro and Lewisburg have the vehicle.  Those came from Fort Campbell, which drastically cut its transportation costs.

Email: aghassemi@newschannel5.com
Facebook: NC5_AdamGhassemi
Twitter: @NC5_AGhassemi

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