Local law enforcement in Omaha, Nebraska is joining many departments across the country in beefing their arsenals by adding military grade weapons and equipment to their repertoire. The United States military is continually upgrading its equipment and armaments and has begun passing on its used equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country.
Omaha’s police department has taken delivery of its first Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle and officers and sheriff’s deputies there have begun training to drive and maintain the military-grade truck. The 25-ton vehicle is not considered a weapons system as many believe it to be when they first see it. Rather it is simply an oversized armored vehicle that offers extra protection for officers.
The MRAP vehicles have been sent by the US military to local law enforcement agencies all over the country but before their domestic deployment they were used in Iraq as a counter-measure to roadside bombs.
Trainers who are in Nebraska to train officers on the use and maintenance of the MRAP say that the vehicle has several uses, all of which are geared toward the protection of officers in the event of a crisis situation in which a standard patrol vehicle may not be sufficient. The vehicles can also be used during or in the aftermath of a natural disaster like a tornado or, in certain coastal regions, a hurricane. In these instances it would allow officers to venture out into the conditions and rescue people.
Some of the training that law enforcement officers are undergoing includes learning how to safely operate the MRAP, particularly over challenging terrain, how to rescue injured citizens, and provide cover in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.
When asked about their take on the new addition to their department, officers said they see it as just another tool that can help them to better protect and serve.