LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Lamar County Sheriff's Department has added another armored vehicle to their fleet in an effort to keep officers safe.
The department purchased a Mine-resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, known as an MRAP, which is a surplus military transport.
"We've got to protect our officers, and the people have bigger fire power, larger fire power and it's just something to protect our officers and keep them safe," said Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel.
The vehicle's price tag is $658,000, and the department got it for a fraction of the cost.
"We've got less than a third than what a patrol car costs, we've got about $10,000 in the actual purchase of it, and another $5,000 to get it here, so total of $15,000," said Rigel.
Rigel said the funds used for the purchase of it are all from the forfeiture fund, that nothing came from tax payers or their general fund.
"It's got run-flat tires, it's got heavy armament on it, we can put our guys in there and safely bring them to a place and safely bring them out on a hot call," Rigel said. "It's a good piece of equipment, I hope we don't need it very often, but it's nice to have."
Chief Deputy Brad Weathers said it puts the department ahead of the suspects in dangerous situations.
"It gives us a new edge on pulling up to scenes and getting closer, where normally we would have to stage further back," Weathers said. "With this vehicle we can actually pull up on the scene and get officers closer to get a feel for what's going on."
Rigel said the vehicle will be used for a variety of calls, ranging from the SRT Team to natural disasters.
"We have floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, we can go into places we couldn't normally get in to that we need to get in really quick, sometimes even in several feet of flood waters," Rigel said.
"It opens up a lot of abilities for us, and obviously it's a new piece of equipment, so all of our officers are going to have to be trained on the use of it, driving it, it's a little bit different than driving a patrol vehicle, so we have to do some training, but we'll get there," Weathers said.