December 20, 2014

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Lorain County law enforcement agencies receive armored military vehicles

Vehicle maintenance coordinator Grant Koba-Nelson takes the vehicle on a test drive through Lorain during a media tour. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Vehicle maintenance coordinator Grant Koba-Nelson takes the vehicle on a test drive through Lorain during a media tour. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

LORAIN — Vehicles equipped to withstand gunfire and explosive attacks in the Afghanistan war are being repurposed to deal with Lorain County crime scenes.

The Lorain County sheriff and the Lorain Police Department this week each received a MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle.

The Lorain County sheriff and the Lorain Police Department this week each received a MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle.

The Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and the Lorain Police Department each were given one armored vehicle this week through the Ohio LESO Program. The vehicles, which weigh about 47,000 pounds, previously were used in the military, said Lorain police Capt. Roger Watkins.

The Sheriff’s Department and Lorain police applied for the vehicles through the program more than a year ago. They were told a month ago that they would receive an armored vehicle at no cost.

“No local funding (was used),” Lorain County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dennis Cavanaugh said, adding that the vehicles are valued at more than $700,000 each.

These vehicles, which are armored and were created for military use, have been repurposed for local law enforcement.

These vehicles, which are armored and were created for military use, have been repurposed for local law enforcement.

The vehicles can travel 65 mph and go on most kinds of terrain, police said. The inside of the vehicles can fit two stretchers, which can be used to treat victims wounded at a crime scene and transported to a hospital, Cavanaugh said.

While the steel plates on the side of the vehicles and much of the equipment inside have been removed since the vehicles were used in the military, Watkins said they still are capable of withstanding more gunfire than other vehicles in the police fleet.

Police plan to use them at crime scenes such as stand-offs, shootings and whenever a person is barricaded inside a building. Both vehicles are equipped with air conditioning and heat, Watkins said.

“I hope it is intimidating,” Watkins said.

“The outcome is to keep everyone safe,” Cavanaugh said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.