November 20, 2019

Protecting the Protectors

Protecting the Protectors
Armored vehicles part of county’s weaponry
Editor’s Note: “Boys with their toys.” That’s what the McLean County Independent called the armored vehicles the McLean County Sheriff’s Department purchased four years ago. Today, we’re eating our words and sharing a different story of a county arming its officers with protective vehicles that are used to protect and serve its residents.
Fourteen tons. Nine feet tall. Could transport 12 officers. Able to withstand land mines. Can move at 70 miles per hour.
Probably not what might be expected to be seen in McLean County.
But it is part of the McLean County Sheriff’s Department’s vehicle force. Four years ago it was a MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) used in the Middle East, had just 250 miles on it and was obtained by the county with “drug money” for $3,400, the cost to ship it from Texas. Far cry from the $800,000 price tag.
Sheriff JR Kerzmann got a call in 2016 from the state surplus program about the time he saw the county’s safety changing.
“That’s about the time I started wearing my vest every time I left the house,” he said. “About that time the guys went to execute a warrant … he had the same ballistics we had, the same guns, the same vest. These guys are matching our protection of what we have to stay safe. On a traffic stop shortly after that, a guy had an actual bullet ballistic vest in the trunk.”

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