Letter: MRAP Acquisition Is Not a Fiscally Sound Choice

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By Colin Walsh

(This was originally sent as a letter to the County Board of Supervisors)

I am writing in regards to the agenda item “Authorize the Sheriff’s Office to apply for certification to participate in the Law Enforcement Support Office Program which allows local law enforcement agencies to access, request and acquire excess equipment from the Department of Defense; and consent to the Sheriff’s Department receiving a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, if awarded, through this program. (No general fund impact) (Prieto).”

I believe there is insufficient justification for this heavy duty military equipment and the fiscal impact assessment of $0 is an under estimate of actual costs.

The staff report makes no mention of the other MRAP type vehicles already in the possession of the Woodland PD, the West Sac PD, or the regional FBI. Without first considering the availability of these vehicles to the Sheriff it is impossible to determine what if any need the Sheriff may have to bring a third MRAP to Yolo County. The actual need must be evaluated before a decision is made to acquire the MRAP.

The staff report further finds that there is $0 of Fiscal impact, but this only considers acquisition costs. The actual cost is not even identified in the report. The report notes, “Should the Sheriff’s Office be awarded an MRAP vehicle, any outfitting or repair costs will be built into the regular budget cycle.” Without identifying the actual outfitting, repair and training costs this item should not be approved. This MRAP is highly specialized heavy equipment and these costs could be significant. It would be fiscally irresponsible to commit to these costs without knowing what they are.

Finally, given the multiple MRAPs already available in the county, I contend there is no likely scenario that would require an additional MRAP. Further, the unknown expense of preparing for such an extremely unlikely scenario cannot be justified. If this money is available, it would be better spent on equipment and training for situations which are more likely, for more personnel or for other county programs.

I urge you to please pull this item from consent calendar and please vote no to authorizing the Sheriff’s office application for certification in the Law Enforcement Support Office program, or for the receipt of the MRAP vehicle.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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