Wisconsin police defend new Army-grade truck
- Associated Press
- May 12, 2014 - 7:10 PM
APPLETON, Wis. — Police in some eastern Wisconsin cities say hundreds of high-risk incidents in the past decade justify their need for Army-grade trucks.
Neenah police last week acquired a free, mine-resistant Caiman multi-terrain vehicle through an excess property program at the U.S. Department of Defense. It was at least the second heavily armored vehicle in the Fox Cities, an area in northeastern Wisconsin that includes Appleton, Oshkosh and other towns and communities in the Fox River Valley.
The Outagamie County Sheriff's Department and Appleton police already share another, Post-Crescent Media reported Monday (http://post.cr/1sEbV3U ).
Police are working to dispel negative public perception over the military look of the 37,000-pound rig by highlighting what they say is a need for police to respond safely to dangerous situations.
"Some of the high-powered rounds that have been used in incidents in and around the Fox Valley in the last few years probably would have penetrated our (current truck)," Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson said.
Police said Neenah has averaged 52 to 54 high-risk incidents annually in the last decade.
Neenah's new vehicle replaces the department's 1979 Peacekeeper truck police have used since 2000. The trucks are used during incidents involving high-powered weapons, hostages, drug investigations and homicides.
Wilkinson said the heavy truck will increase operational and maintenance costs for the area's taxpayers. But he said the higher cost is outweighed by law enforcement's need to safely provide help.
Lt. Jeff Malcore, Neenah's SWAT team leader, said the new vehicle's gun turret has been removed and the truck doesn't have other weapons on it.
"We have no ability to shoot out of it," Malcore said. "All it does is allow us to get from one place to another so we can deploy our people, or if there's firing coming in, we can back up to a window or something to get people out."
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