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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Taft Police getting new armored vehicle

  • It's called an MRAP Caiman and it will be used for rescues
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  • If you like the Humvee the Taft Police Department has, just wait until you see what's coming next.
    Its bigger, better and badder – but it' s not seen a law enforcement tool as much as it is for public safety and rescue.
    It's called an MRAP Caiman Cat. 1.
    “It's armored, its big, its diesel,” Chief of Police Ed Whiting said.
    It's also built on an International Harvester dump truck chassis.
    It's also brand new, never having been used in combat or training, the chief said.
    The MRAP stands for mine resistant ambush protected armored personnel carrier.
    The city is going to get its hands on one of the armored vehicles, which costs the military about $650,000, for just the cost of having it delivered here from Texas.
    Whiting told the Taft City council will probably be less than $5,000.
    Whiting briefed the council on the vehicle and its potential uses for the city.
    For one thing, it's not going to be smashing into houses or even out on patrol.
    “We are not going to use it to intimidate the local citizens into obeying the law,” Whiting said.
    Whiting said, it will be primarily used in the case of major disaster like an earthquake or hazmat situation.
    “We hope we never have to use it,” Whiting told the council.
    The MRAP is sealed for protection against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, which means its ideal for use in case of a chemical spill.
    Police in the MRAP could safely reach people trapped or incapacitated from chemicals.
    In a major disaster like an earthquake the MRAP could be invaluable, doing things the city's patrol cars couldn't.
    “In the event we have a natural disaster like an earthquake, we're not going to be driving our Crown Vics through the rubble,” Whiting said.
    The vehicle also has an 18,000-pound winch.
    Since it is protected against mines and small arms fire, it could be used for rescue of injured people trapped  in the line of fire during a shootout.
    The armored vehicle will have a 12-volt electrical system compatible with police radios and other gear, and a heavy-duty air conditioning system.
    Whiting said police have one bid for $4,900 to bring the vehicle out to Taft and think they may be able to do it even cheaper.

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