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Ector County Sheriff’s Office receives armored vehicle - Odessa American: Law Enforcement

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Ector County Sheriff’s Office receives armored vehicle

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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 5:23 pm

Christmas came early this year for the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, specifically for their SWAT Team.

Thanks to the Section 1033 Program, which allows law enforcement agencies to acquire retired vehicles and weapons from the Department of Defense, the ECSO received a Mine Resistant Armored Protection vehicle (MRAP) to be used by their SWAT team in lieu of the van they had been using previously for transportation.

“We figured if it’s good enough for the U.S. military, then it’s good enough for us,” Sheriff Mark Donaldson said, chuckling as he climbed into the vehicle.

The vehicle, which came in late Wednesday afternoon, has only 14,000 miles on it so far and, though there was a price tag of $658,000 on the front bumper, the ECSO only had to pay to have it transported to Odessa from Mississippi.

Donaldson said they heard about the vehicles coming into the program three months ago and put in an official request for one only two weeks ago.

The vehicle comes equipped with air assisted doors, a turret, fire suppressors to keep the tires from being shot out and a total of nine seats (current). Donaldson said he hopes to take money seized and from the Bad Boy Blast to customize the vehicle to the needs of the SWAT Team which he hopes to build up to 12 to 14 people.

“After the whole Victor White thing, we really started looking into getting something like this,” Sgt. Gary Duesler said while looking at the half-inch steel plating on the vehicle’s air assisted doors.

Donaldson said he plans to have training exercises for his deputies to get accustomed to the vehicle, but that if a situation arose where the vehicle would be helpful, he would have no problem using it today.

Spirits were high at the ECSO Thursday afternoon as Donaldson showed off the vehicle and joked with Duesler about taking the vehicle to local gas stations and fast food restaurants.

“They already came up with a name for it,” Donaldson said as one of his deputies went to start the vehicle up. “When it pulled up, some of the guys said, ‘Man, that’s a beast!’ So we said there you go, that’s The Beast.”

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