Something big just arrived
At 35,000 pounds, 10 feet high and 21 feet long, the heavy-duty military vehicle obtained by the Champaign County sheriff's office is easy to spot.
But don't expect to catch it tooling down C-U streets a week from today.
"You're not going to see it in the 4th of July parade or anything like that," Champaign County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Allen Jones said. "If there's a situation that requires that type of protection, that's where you'll see it in action. No parades."
Acquired free of charge, the demilitarized MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle is being prepped for use and, Jones said, should be ready in the fall. It replaces a 28-year-old armored car and gives the sheriff's office an all-wheel option for scenarios of many kinds.
"Active shooter, hostage situations, high-risk warrants," Jones said. "It can even help us get folks to where they need to go in bad weather."
Currently getting a paint job — from Afghanistan sand to black and white — the MRAP comes to the county via the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO), which finds a U.S. law enforcement home for excess Department of Defense property. It will be available for use by the Metropolitan Emergency Tactical Response Operations Special Weapons and Tactics Team.
What it lacks in fuel economy the MRAP makes up in punch.
"It's a little bigger than I expected," Jones said. "But it's not like shopping at the store. We didn't get to say what size we wanted. We just said we'd like one."
Driving the big rig will require training, Jones said, and candidates are aplenty.
"Several guys in our office are farmers who are used to driving combines, semis, dump trucks," Jones said. "I've been told they're not going to let me drive it, but maybe one of those guys will teach me."