Misconceptions about MRAP include thinking it’s a tank

I wish to respond to the Letter to the Editor from Helen Waitz (“Citizens need answers on tank acquisition,” Our Readers Say, Feb. 6, 2014) and I hope clear up some misconceptions evident in her letter and in comments made in other forums around town.

First, the headline and other references to the vehicle as a “tank” are misleading and alarmist.

The city of Redlands has not acquired a tank.

Late last year, the Redlands Police Department received a surplus Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle at no cost to the city from the Department of Defense.

A total of 165 of the surplus vehicles were provided last year to police departments nationwide as part of a national military surplus program started by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

RPD applied for the MRAP to repurpose as a ballistic capable rescue/tactical vehicle to be utilized to enhance officer and citizen safety when responding to active shooter type incidents.

Ms. Waitz asks “Why would a small, quiet, college town in Southern California need a MRAP … vehicle with a machine gun mounted in its turret?” Let me assure your readers that there is no machine gun mounted anywhere on the vehicle. There was no turret-mounted gun on the vehicle when RPD took delivery and such military-style weaponry is not essential or desired for the vehicle’s intended purpose as a tactical rescue vehicle

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