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

 

ouriel@sanduskyregister.com

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.”

Comments

Contango

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")

rippedhippy1

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

slappymcgee

WTF?

Darwin's choice

Weren't there any attack helicopters available?

obama/failed

Maggdi

Sherriff department had dibs......

Contango

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!

Fairlybadboy

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.

holysee

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.

rippedhippy1

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

Contango

lol

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?

MBR

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.

Wjones44

What a bunch of morons these cops are.

Darkhorse

The equipment is overkill for a town like Norwalk.

Contango

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

44846GWP

Still funny every time you say it! lol!

knowitall

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

knowitall

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".

mrlizzzard

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

knowitall

Lol

YoMamma

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

YoMamma

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

knowitall

Yep. Lol.

sugar

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

44846GWP

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

holysee

police hard on
rock hard

vcreed123

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

MBR

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

deertracker

Why are all you law abiding citizens worried about?

vcreed123

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?"

SCbuckeye

I don't understand your statement that "liberal sheeple" "are OK with 8.00hr flunkies having military equipment at their disposal." I think all people with common sense will agree, this is wasteful. Tires, fuel, filters, etc. The city found something sorta neat, for free, but they don't need it. AND, Norwalk has a very experienced, well paid Police force.

MBR

Law-abiding. That line is becoming thinner and thinner with every passing day in this country.

Kilroy

I guess they will not be needing that ladder anymore to get the kitty out of the tree.

csnighthawk

Will it help get a cat out of a tree?

SamAdams

I get all of the jokes being made here because it IS on the ridiculous side of unbelievable that Norwalk wanted (and got) such a vehicle. I agree with the wasted taxpayer dollars, too (yes, I know Norwalk got it for free, but taxpayers already paid for the thing once, and maintenance isn't free, either). But what REALLY makes me mad is that the rest of the commenters, who are focused on the militarization of police forces, are the ones who are most frighteningly right!

It's not funny. It's not just another waste we can shake our fingers at and complain to our politicians about. It's a WAR vehicle in the hands of local police. Anybody who's not both appalled and really, really nervous about the militarization of police forces ought to get out more -- and certainly inform themselves more. This is a nationwide trend, and the predictions from all corners are a whole lot less than pretty!

MBR

I could not agree more. This is EXTREMELY disturbing and is happening routinely across the U.S. For those who think there is a right or left-wing agenda, it is neither--it is those who are in power wanting control over the masses.

knowitall

I agree. What if the Put in Bay police had one of these?

Julian

Criminals carried semi auto pistols, police respond with the same pistols and bulletproof vests. Criminals carried assault rifles, police respond armor plate vests. Countless cases of school shootings and public building shootings, police respond with vehicles like these. It makes sense in my book, the police should always be more prepared than the criminals. I'm glad that they take my safety this seriously.

knowitall

Next it is Apache attack helicopters according to your logic. This sounds like extremism on your part and Norwalk's.

vcreed123

There's not much difference between the two anymore, the biggest difference is one has a listed phone number to contact them at

Knowitallnot

Look out Monroeville and Milan! Bad Boys Bad Boys What You Gonna Do When They Come For You!

knowitall

You knucklehead....abusing my name like that! Get your own name you schmuck.

OneLocalVoice

It'll be great for those weekend outings that they'll call "training exercises!" Can I ride along and make a video report like reporters did during the Gulf Wars?

lugnut2511

Militarized Policing is what this is all about..

downthemiddle

With obama flooding the country with criminals disguised as unaccompanied children.... Ever heard of MS 13?

These dirtbags will communicate with cheap cellphones.... And target one small town after the other.. A "flash mob" of crime. Like locusts.

I hope this truck has machine guns.. And the guys behind them have the guts to hold the trigger down...

Donegan

"To protect and serve"
Only the the question is "Who?".
Those who believe this is benign are the same ones who will get surprised when it is used against them.

Julian

Only the criminals will be surprised. Chances are, if you saw this in your front yard, you did something bad.

knowitall

Unless you live in PIB.

vcreed123

Anymore an unpaid parking ticket is enuff for them to fire this baby up, like they are not going to fabricate an excuse to use it for everything

Peninsula Pundit

Well, here's another deeply contemplated reply by this guy.
Where's Lady Dye and the other police supporters?
It's levity at it's most ironic to hear the defense of this piece of police hardware.

Donegan

Little do you know you are already a criminal in the eyes of the state.

Julian

Lol ok, Keep listening to coast to coast

LivinOnTheLake

Now another thing to worry about...everytime I go to Norwalk I need to be careful not to step on any landmines or IED's.

Sheesh, I didn't know Al-Qeada moved into Huron County...

exsanduskian

This is a outrageous piece of equipment for any city let alone Norwalk. I pray that only "Oath Keepers" are permitted anywhere near it!

OSUAV8TER

Ohio State even picked up one to control those drunk, crazy college students. Glad I got out of there, wouldn't want to get shot up by the complimentary .50 cal and grenade launcher that come with each MRAP.

pntbutterandjelly

The mayor and police chief should be ashamed of themselves and the citizens of Norwalk should be outraged as _ell! They should all storm the police department and force them to re-sell this monstrosity. But wait! They can't or they'll be run over or shot to death by this abomination.
Expenditures for items like this are total B.S. It's a toy for the macho-minded police state at the taxpayers expense. It's wrong, wrong, wrong.

pntbutterandjelly

Cops on steroids with paranoid tendencies and an overwhelming need to impress others because of their own general lacking

gkbucks

The militarization of the police is unconstitutional. If you don't think we live in a police state, think again! Cities are laying off police yet they can afford "free" armored vehicles. Please read the following and substitute the Soviet Union for Germany: http://thesovereigninvestor.com/...

Dr. Information

Its being toted as a pickup for citizens safety in the event of a storm or tornado or earthquake or hurricane, wildfire, tsunami, out of control grandpas 80th birthday bash...etc, where they can safely travel around and pick people up if needed.

If thats the case, paint it bright orange and throw a CITY OF NORWALK logo on the side and give it to the Maintenance Department.