Sheriff Blaise Smith announces the acquisition of an MRAP vehicle for the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The BAE Caiman MRAP will be used as a rescue vehicle during hurricanes as well as a vehicle that will be useful in extracting people from dangerous incidents as well as protecting personnel during incidents.
The MRAP program began in the U.S. military as a response to casualties from IEDs during the Iraq War. Starting in October 2013, local police and sheriff offices throughout the United States began assuming control of many Caiman 6x6 MTVs after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars ended. The BAE Caiman MRAP is sold for only its transportation costs to the local jurisdiction.
The Department of Homeland Security Rapid Response Teams used MRAPs to assist people affected by hurricanes in 2012. The build of the MRAP lends it to be a high-water vehicle in storm situations like hurricanes.
To receive an armored vehicle, a requesting agency has to meet certain criteria, including justification for use (such as for shooting incidents, SWAT operations, and other emergency incidents), geographical area, and multi-jurisdiction use. Many law enforcement agencies use them in disaster relief roles, as they can go through flooded areas unlike normal police armored vehicles, and provide security to victims and LEOs in response to critical incidents.
Sheriff Blaise Smith says that the security of the vehicle and capabilities for high-water rescue make it a very useful vehicle for the protection of our citizens in St. Mary Parish.
“This is one of those pieces of equipment that is so unique. You hope you never have to use it, yet if it is needed, the lives of citizens, as well as law enforcement officers, can certainly be saved.”
The MRAP came with additional tires and was acquired for a state fee of $15,000. (Its approximate value is $733,000.) In the history of the SMPSO, there have been several times when this type of vehicle would have been a crucial piece of equipment that could have been used in rescue operations.
The Training Section of the SMPSO has already conducted several trainings with deputies to prepare for the driving and use of the vehicle in rescue operations.
The SMPSO is blessed to have several deputies who still actively serve with our military and have their armored vehicle operator’s certification.