News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Sep. 23, 2013
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- To a passer-by, it resembles a tank. It still has a desert-style paint-job, and there's a good explanation for that. The military vehicle North Augusta Department of Public Safety (NADPS) just scored comes directly from the frontlines in Afghanistan.
It's known as a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, and the vehicle, valued at $658,000, essentially doesn't cost North Augusta anything. Public Safety received the vehicle through a government buy-back program, and after paying a $1,000 membership fee with narcotics money, the military-style vehicle was delivered to NADPS just last week.
However, NADPS expected to hear another big question. Why do they need it?
"In the event we have an active shooter, that type of thing, we can roll that vehicle. It can be used as a rescue vehicle," says Public Safety Director John Thomas. "We have to be proactive. We hope and pray we never need that type of vehicle. We just don't have any assurance of that."
Thomas adds that the vehicle could have been used during recent flooding events.
Meanwhile, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office and Aiken Department of Public Safety do not own MRAPs. However, both departments are also pursuing their own.