Norwalk Police vehicle was made for war

“We found it. We saw it. We wanted it," Norwalk police Chief Dave Light said.
Andy Ouriel
Aug 3, 2014

Features of Norwalk police’s new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) transport vehicle:

• Vehicle manufactured for American military conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan

• Norwalk’s vehicle was only used for training purposes at Dayton’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

• Height: 12-feet-high

• Weight: Between 55,000 pounds to 60,000 pounds

• Six-wheel drive

• Can drive and easily navigate through any surface, including mud, sand and snow

• The vehicle’s street legal and can travel down any federal, state or local road

• Top speed equals about 60 mph

Norwalk police’s newest asset might seem more suitable on Middle East battlegrounds rather than in Huron County and surrounding areas.

But the Maple City protectors contend their massive, bulletproof, nearly invincible vehicle can help protect residents across the region from severe public safety threats.

This past week, and for the first time ever, members on Norwalk’s special response team officially deployed the MRAP (standing for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected transport vehicle) for a mission to executive a search warrant to seize AK-47s and other dangerous weapons in Willard.

Made initially for American military combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, manufactured to withstand improvised explosive devices embedded underneath roads, Norwalk police commanders acquired this vehicle through a government equipment surplus website.

Best of all: The vehicle, logging only 4,000 miles and used solely for training at Dayton’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, didn’t cost area taxpayers a single cent via acquisition.

“In this tough economic time, we have a hard enough time trying to figure out ways to pay for new cruisers,” Norwalk police Chief Dave Light said. “We found it. We saw it. We wanted it. It was just luck of the draw we got one of the 12 offered.”

After inscribing Norwalk’s name and logo on it, officials thus far have invested about $2,200 of local taxpayers dollars into the vehicle.


Trade-in upgrade

Before using the MRAP, Norwalk’s special response team shuttled around in a repurposed ambulance looking more like a minivan than an armored vehicle.

All team members, including a hostage negotiator and perimeter shooters, would need to jam in just to fit everyone inside.

“That didn’t offer any protection whatsoever,” said Norwalk executive officer Mike Conney, who’s also the special response team’s commander. “We were glad to have it, but it just wasn’t designed for the purposes we needed it for.”

So when the MRAP became available, Conney, Light and others pounced on their mouse, feverishly clicking in hopes of obtaining such a unique vehicle for free.

The vehicle now comfortably fits all team members, although anyone hopping inside might literally need to jump in to get in this 12-foot-high, all-terrain military vehicle.

“I believe this vehicle can be the difference between life and death for somebody,” Conney said. “We can get in and out much quicker.”

In recent years, the special response team, which also provides aid to areas in Erie and Sandusky counties, has only deployed for three or four missions per 12-month cycle.

Other than training, only serious incidents — a rampage, for instance — putting many lives at stake would require the vehicle’s use, Conney said.

“Not every call is going to require such a behemoth monster truck,” Conney said.


Different type of drive

The MRAP definitely handles a bit differently than what Conney’s used to.

“It’s not like my Ford Fiesta, which is about the smallest car you can find,” said Conney while driving the MRAP about 55 mph on U.S. 20 on a recent weekday.

The vehicle is street legal and can access any federal, state or local road, including those in Norwalk.

Although the narrow windshield and windows, which don’t lower, make visibility tough.

“One place you won’t go with this is the drive-thru at McDonald’s,” Conney said. “You can’t stick your head out or anything. When driving, you just have to slow down and watch out.”

Some community members have already voiced outrage about police “militarizing” the community.

But Conney doesn’t see it that way.

“Routine things should be handled routinely and not with a special response team," he said. "But I feel safer knowing that if something horrible happens, a Columbine-type thing, it’s going to help us deal with what’s going on and save lives.”



Re: “We found it. We saw it. We wanted it."

Reads like a variation of the Latin phrase: Veni, vidi, vici

("I came, I saw, I conquered")


Well hey, the taxpayers can pay for it. They can just take a bunch of selfies in front of it. It's worth it!



Darwin's choice

Weren't there any attack helicopters available?



Sherriff department had dibs......


Re: "But I feel safer knowing that if something horrible happens, a Columbine-type thing,"

Coulda maybe have been used during the '69 flood or the Blizzard of '78.

So, once every couple decades or during an upcoming riot.

Maybe in a few yrs. surplus military drones will be made available.

Imagine Norwalk with a hunter-killer UAV. Sweet!


This is what I specifically remember about watching coverage of the massacre in Columbine.....

Police ducking under broken windows to pull students out of the building. They remarked that they didn't have "enough information" to actually risk going inside. Until the dying was done. Literally. Turns out a few faculty were bleeding out behind closed doors. Couldn't go in with guns. Can't find the bad guy. Very dangerous, indeed.

Now Norwalk will have a mad maxian vehicle to be cowardly in.


They make us tax payers pay for crap that should have never been needed in the first place, only to come full circle back and militarize our police. And what repair garage is equipped to service this tank Chief? Help me to see the Light!
It's like we're forced to buy and shoot guns with 180 degree barrels.


Ah shucks, it can't go through the drive-thru. It's useless!



Why bother when it can probably just 'take out' the drive-thu?

indolent indiff...

THis can be used against the citizens. Protests, pickets, right to assembly gone.
does the police force need this to break in to the heroin junkie mobile home, or the meth head mobile lab in the trunk of his 20 year old car?


Which is exactly why more and more of these vehicles are being bought by police departments across the country. Norwalk citizens should be VERY concerned.


What a bunch of morons these cops are.


The equipment is overkill for a town like Norwalk.


Yes, but it'll be a nice addition for parades!


Still funny every time you say it! lol!


Don't tick them off......they will attack you.


Wow! Waste of tax payers money....whether Norwalks or everyone else's. At least Norwalk is ready if Russia attacks to annex them!
I bought Tonka toys for my kids. Norwalk buys these for their "kids".


Only one person should worry about this vehicle and that's YOU.




DOD allocates $60,000.00 per MRAP each year for maintenance. How much did Dave Light budget?


Look at photo #5! The sob looks like it has a leak! Better call in a hazmat team Chief!


Yep. Lol.


Are you freaking kidding me? WTF? Norwalk? Norwalk, Ohio ? Everyone here knows how I feel about taxes, what a collosal waste.


I drove by the Police parking lot, and about sh-t myself when I saw it! It could house a family of six, lol!


police hard on
rock hard


Are you kidding me???? What do you idiots need this thing for?? Is anyone else concerned by the militarization of local police???? I want someone from the NPD to explain the purpose of this thing and how many officers your going to cut to handle the maintenance costs


These are showing up more and more across the country. People should be very concerned.


Why are all you law abiding citizens worried about?


Only one of the liberal sheeple who actually WANT the government to dictate their lives are OK with 8.00hr flunkies having military equipment at their disposal. I worry because 99% of the population is law abiding and they still arm themselves with something like this? Why is the government arming every rinky dink police force with these things? Is there something in the works that could cause major "civil disobedience"?? I would love to know the details of the "AK-47" raid in Willard, I'm sure it was life threatening. We might as well give those clowns out on PIB one as well, every other police force is picking one up. I worry about the police more than I worry about criminals....

did you mean "what are you law abiding citizens worried about?"