Ohio State University’s police department received a donated “Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle” this month complete with gun turret, armored siding and bulletproof glass.
University police say the vehicle is meant to be used for “large-scale emergency situations,” but will primarily be used to carry university police around campus and to provide a police “presence” on football game days, the Ohio State University Lantern reports.
From the Lantern:
Kyle Smith, Staff Sgt. in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and a fourth-year in criminal justice, said he doesn’t see a need for University Police to have a military vehicle that can withstand the blast of a 500-pound bomb, but he understands the logic behind why the department acquired one. “It makes sense,” Smith said. “Why pay $300,000 for an armored (Chevrolet) Suburban when you can get a much more useful vehicle for free?”
Ohio State police tell the Lantern they’ll remove the gun turret from the vehicle before deploying the vehicle on campus.
The addition of the military vehicle to Ohio State University’s police department’s fleet is part of a larger trend, the Columbus Dispatch reports: the militarization of local law-enforcement agencies.
From the Dispatch:
Experts who study the trend say more local agencies than ever routinely rely on paramilitary tactics and military equipment, much of it the aging detritus of two decades of war.