MRAP(RG31), but why?

Have you noticed? It’s here and almost completely ready to be used in the field. We only need to finish outfitting the interior. At that point, staff will begin training with the unit and preparing for events we hope we never see. MRAP stands for mine-resistant ambush-protected. The vehicle is intended to take a beating while protecting the occupants and continuing the mission.

The Aransas Pass PD is a member of the Texas Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) formerly known as the federal 1033 Program. This program provides surplus military supplies within reach of local law enforcement. Since joining the program back around 2016, the police department has acquired quite a bit of surplus equipment to support the department’s public safety mission. Here is a list of those items we’ve since acquired from the program. The values are listed for reference because the equipment is provided to the PD at no cost.

  • Ammo canisters for protected, rugged storage ($50)
  • Kitchen range for the PD kitchen ($350)
  • 26 Aimpoint Comp M4 sights ($8,190)
  • 2 training dummies ($2,000) *** Doll-like figures, not real humans.
  • 6 dive-team wetsuits ($7,500)
  • 2 light powerplants ($17,200)
  • MRAP/RG31 ($455,000)
  • 2 INI Power IntelliGEN Flex Fuel Generators ($5,000)
  • Armored storage unit ($50,000)
  • 8 Peltor headsets ($6,400)

The only expense associated with these items has been to either transport them to Aransas Pass and/or get them up and operational. In most cases, like that of the MRAP (approximately $40,000), the funding source used is our federal asset forfeiture fund which comes to us via our participation in the Equitable Sharing Program, not local tax monies.

So, why the need, you ask? Great question. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as your police chief now for almost 9 years. During this short time, I have witnessed several events where such an armored, heavy-duty vehicle would come in handy. As a result, I tasked my patrol captain with locating and obtaining the RG31. Here are just a few notable events that lead to this decision.

  • Major flooding, like that during Hurricane Harvey or the floods in 2016. Just look at how police in Dickinson have used them.
  • Standoff with a resident on 12/23/2014 who was armed and used improvised explosive devices to booby trap his house.
  • Shooting on Sherwood Forest after annexation. The subject fled to Portland and got into another shooting at a gas station.
  • Distraught male threatening human life and property with a front-end loader, 01/16/2020. We had to call in a dump truck for defensive purposes.
  • Active shooting event and standoff with a distraught subject on Young Street, 03/18/2019. We had to establish a wide perimeter due to no safe way to approach the scene. Fortunately, the event ended well, and no one got hurt.
  • Armed standoff with suicidal subjects. One attempted to get officers to shoot and kill him. Both ended in completed suicides.

Again, these are just a few notable situations over the past roughly 9 years of my administration where our strategy and response would have improved had we possessed, and used, this vehicle. The scariest of them all was the Young Street event. Our perimeter was set wide to protect emergency responders, and had the event turned into an active threat to life, we’d likely had seriously injured or killed officers.

Just experiencing one of the mentioned events was enough for me to determine that an inexpensive and available tool like the MRAP would be needed and helpful. We are confident it will be put to good use over the next several years. Hopefully, as I previously stated, that use is merely from training.

If you have any remaining questions or comments, please do share. You can share on social media or contact me directly.

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