GAINESVILLE, TX - The Gainesville Police Department has added a new tool to their fight on crime and it's the only one of its kind in North Texas.
Gainesville PD has responded to high risk situations in the past, and although they have a Special Response Team to handle dangerous and difficult situations, they've never had a vehicle of this magnitude until now.
Equipment once used to keep our military safe overseas is now doing the same for law enforcement on our streets at home.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started winding down, the military began bringing vehicles and other equipment back to the states.
"They're MRAPs, which stands for Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicle. There's several different variants of these vehicles. This particular version is a Camen M-Rap.," said Kevin Phillips, Gainesville police chief.
The Gainesville Police Department has spent years trying to obtain an MRAP through the Texas 1033 program. It's a military surplus property program that transitions equipment they are no longer using into law enforcement.
"We've been looking for something that would provide additional protection for our personnel in the event of a major incident such as an active shooter. We have a special response team and they serve high risk warrants, responds to barricaded persons and we just didn't have a vehicle to provide the level of protection that we felt they needed," said Phillips
The MRAP is mine and bullet resistant and is completely covered with steel more than an inch think. It's also equipped with an elevated view point to give a better assessment of high risk situations.
"This allows us to respond to calls in a quicker, safer manner to ultimately take care in any situation that may arise that could jeopardize the citizens safety," said Jon Frith, Gainesville PD Captain of patrol.
The Gainesville Police Department allowed me to ride along in the MRAP and it was surprisingly smooth considering its size.
The MRAP weighs 46,000 pounds, reaches a top speed of 55 miles per hour and gets about 4 miles per gallon.
It also comes with a very expensive price tag but is at no cost to Gainesville tax payers of the department.
"The vehicle is valued at $733,000 and it was transferred to the Gainesville police department at no cost," said Phillips.
Chief Phillips tells me that the MRAP is the only vehicle of its kind in North Texas. He says its also available to other outside agencies whenever they may need it.