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Military-style vehicles boost SO capabilities

The recent acquisition of some interesting vehicles by the Escambia County Sheriff Departments will be beneficial in many circumstances in the county.

Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson said the department recently received two High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, more commonly referred to as Hummers.

“We are part of a state program that allows us to have access to used military equipment,” Jackson said. “We were lucky to be in line to receive the two hummers and an armored vechile and a lull (forklift-type equipment). The department already had two hummers and this just adds to our fleet.”

Jackson said the cost of these military-style vehicles is impossible to put in a budget for most any agency in the state.

“This is about $2 million dollars worth of really good equipment that we would not have ever been able to afford,” Jackson said. “We are lucky to be able to receive these vehicles to help in certain circumstances throughout the county.”

Jackson said the vehicles came to the county at no cost and the only cost would be regular maintenance as is already done on vehicles in the county fleets.

Jackson said the vehicles would come in handy if the area ever experiences flooding — as seen here last week — or if storm damage is too treacherous for ordinary vehicles.

“With these vehicles, we were able to get the people who needed to inspect the bridge and survey the situation to the bridge,” Jackson said. “If, say after a storm, we have roads that are impassable, these vehicles will help us get through. That means we can get through to people who may be in dangerous or emergency situations where other vehicles are unable to go. If anyone is ever lost in wooded or swampy areas, we can get in and do a search and rescue details to help find them.”

The vehicles were made possible by Escambia County’s participation in the 1033 program. The LESO/1033 Program is just one way for law enforcement agencies to obtain military sourced equipment. The LESO/1033 Program handles excess military property for use by law enforcement agencies, but prohibits transfer of military uniforms, body armor, Kevlar helmets and the other items discussed above.

By participating in the program, a law enforcement agency is able to review online the available excess Department of Defense  (DOD) inventory that is suitable for law enforcement and make requests for property through the state coordinator. Law enforcement agencies do not pay for the property but must pay for shipping the items as well as potential storage costs. All excess DOD property is shipped “as is,” and the law enforcement agency is responsible for all costs associated with acquisition, maintenance and costs to return the property when it is no longer needed.

Jackson said the department will use the Lull, or forklift, received on a regular basis.

“If we are in a situation where FEMA comes in to deliver supplies for our area, this piece will be handy for us to have.,” Jackson said.. “We have been using it already and it has saved us a considerable amount of money since we didn’t have to buy or rent equipment to do the work this does.”

Jackson said the vehicles are now part of the SO fleet.