San Diego Unified School District, just received an armored truck, which could easily be mistaken for a miniature and highly mobile military tank.
The truck isn’t strictly a tank but is certainly built like on. Technically, it’s classified as a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. The U.S. military has frequently used these vehicles in their occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. They’re capable of withstanding Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and smashing through barricades.
These vehicles are as nimble in combat as a Humvee and yet are built like a rock. Modern urban warfare personnel have regularly relied on these vehicles to offer them shelter during an ambush and offer retaliatory fire, while being protected behind such MARPs that have thick armor plating and bullet resistant glass. During peaceful times, police departments around the country use similar vehicles for SWAT team deployments.
But why does a school district need an MARP? Is it worried of an ISIS threat? Apparently not, reported U-T San Diego. The school district got the MRAP for free, as part of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Excess Property Program. The program, commonly referred to as the “1033 Program,” regularly sends unneeded or excess military equipment like weapons and body armor to local police forces for no cost.
The program received widespread attention in the days following the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Television screens showed local cops decked out in tactile military equipment facing down peaceful protesters. It was later revealed that most of that equipment was provided through the 1033 Program.
Though several local police departments have received equipment through the program, none of that matches the MRAP. San Diego Unified’s MRAP is by far the single most expensive piece of that equipment, ever received by a school district, reported NBC San Diego.
San Diego Unified School District Police Department’s captain Joe Florentino clarified that the armored truck will come in handy during emergency rescue missions. He stated that the district intends to deploy the MRAP solely as a rescue vehicle. Speaking about the same, Florentino said.
“When we have an emergency at a school, we’ve got to get in and save kids. Our idea is ‘How can we get in and pull out a classroom at a time of kids if there’s an active shooter? If there’s a fire [or] if there’s an earthquake, can we rip down a wall?’ Stuff like that.”
The vehicle is worth about $730,000, but like all equipment in the 1033 program, it was free. San Diego Unified spent about $5,000 to ship it from storage in Texas to San Diego. The MRAP arrived in April and students at Morse High School’s Auto Collision and Refinishing Program got to work painting it.
[Image Credit | SDUSD Police Dept.]