It’s a bird.
It’s a plane.
It’s a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) tactical vehicle valued at more than $700,000.
And it soon could be rolling down a street near you.
On Wednesday the Manteca Police Department announced the acquisition of a surplus military vehicle – a style that was constructed to absorb the blast from improvised explosive devices and most recently used by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will be assigned to the Special Tactics and Weapons team to be used as a rescue vehicle.
According to a release, the vehicle – which is 10-foot tall and 21-feet long and is capable of navigating off-road terrain with ease – contains a self-pressurized air system allowing for operation in hazardous materials situations and requires specializing training in order to operate.
In the wake of recent events across the country, including numerous school shootings according to the release, Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion said that he wants to have every resource possible to protect the public and the officers under his command.
The vehicle can also be used for threats from gunmen, hostage rescue situations, bomb threats and transporting officers in high-risk situations.
Manteca’s SWAT officers – who train with counterparts from the Ripon Police Department – currently utilize a converted armored truck for transporting officers into scenarios and situations that could be considered dangerous.
Last year the San Joaquin County Sherriff’s Department purchased a Lanco BearCat – upgrading from a 30-year-old vehicle that had been a part in service since 1982. That vehicle cost the Sherriff’s office more than $400,000, but the money came from a federal grant.
The MRAP won’t cost Manteca a dime, but maintenance on the steel machine can be steep – the weight alone creates a massive drain on fuel, and the high center-of-gravity can make it susceptible to rollovers when being driven at high-speeds on uneven roads.
A massive surplus originated when combat operations effectively ceased and left entire fleets of the vehicles sitting unused. Police Departments and law enforcement agencies across the country have been putting in for, and receiving, the MRAP units over the course of the last several months.