- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Armored vehicles purchased by Tulsa County law enforcement agencies will likely be operational this year, and police say it’s unlikely they would use them to diffuse a large-scale civil disturbance.

The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles were bought over the summer for $2,500 each by the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, the Tulsa World reported (https://bit.ly/1qq3IfC ). They were acquired through a government program that sells decommissioned military vehicles at a discounted price to law enforcement agencies.

The vehicles carry a price tag of $733,000, according to Tulsa Deputy Police Chief Dennis Larsen. A non-military armored vehicle would cost a law enforcement agency between $160,000 to $250,000, he said.

“‘For $2,500,’ I joked with the (seller), ‘Can we get two?’ It’s just too good of a deal,” Larsen said.

Both agencies say the armored vehicles will be useful in disaster response, such as the 2013 Moore tornado that ripped through a large area of the town. When the fatal twister hit Moore, Larsen said large amounts of leftover debris deflated police cruiser tires, preventing Moore officers from being able to use them. He noted the tires on armored vehicles are nearly impossible to deflate.

The agencies say it’s unlikely they would use the armored vehicles to halt a large civil disturbance. Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said last month that they wouldn’t be effective in such a scenario, adding that any protest requires officers to respond with communication on the ground.

“You can’t hope to resolve something in a tank,” he said.

The vehicles also will be used for high-risk search warrants, such as a person law enforcement officials suspect has a powerful rifle, both agencies said.

The Tulsa Police Department bought the vehicle in June for $2,500, and it should be ready by late October or November.

Maj. Shannon Clark said the sheriff’s office said its vehicle is technically operational now, but that it still needs some outfitting.

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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