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Mid-Missouri law enforcement prepared to defend citizens

Tactical vehicles like the ones we have seen on the streets of Baltimore are becoming a more common sign, even at departments in Mid-Missouri.

In Ferguson and Baltimore they’ve been criticized for looking too menacing and militaristic on the streets, but some argue they can prevent bad situations, and its exactly what’s needed.

Cole County has an armored vehicle from a Defense Department program. The vehicle was actually used in the middle east, but all of the weapons have
been taken off. It’s purely used for its heavy protective armor.

Captain John Wheeler with the Cole County Sheriff’s Department took us inside the massive vehicle.

“It’s a $689,000 vehicle and we got it for nothing,” said Wheeler.

It didn’t cost anything because, technically, taxpayers have already paid for it once.

Vehicles like this are being used in Baltimore because the riots have gotten too dangerous for everyday police cruisers.

Wheeler said these vehicles are purely for officers’ safety.

“We have the patrol care, and then we have the MRAP, they’re both tools we use on a regular basis,” said Wheeler.

Tools that have much different jobs; the patrol car for speed, and the MRAP for protection.

“This will stop any handgun, any rifle fire,” said Wheeler.

While it’s more on the massive side, inside it’s more on the small side, room for about half a dozen men.

However, their menacing looks have drawn critics. They say they’re intimidating to those who are rioting, but these vehicles aren’t meant to intimidate or be welcoming, they have one job.

“You can’t put a cost on the kind of safety. You really can’t. Think of the situations we go to. Barricaded subject. There are so many situations we need this kind of barrier for. We need this to be able to protect our citizens as well as our deputies,” said Wheeler.

The MRAP hasn’t been used in any operations yet. The city recently purchased a new tactical vehicle for nearly $300,000. We also found out a number of surrounding counties in Mid-Missouri have also purchased the MRAPs.

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