APPLETON, Wis. (AP) - Appleton police officials are defending their decision to accept an armored truck, which the department received in April, in light of recent criticism surrounding military surplus gear.
Interim Police Chief Jim Lewis spoke forcefully about the need for the mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, known as an MRAP, at a safety panel Thursday night. He was responding to two aldermen who are calling for a review of the military surplus program through which the vehicle was obtained.
“I don’t believe it is appropriate or necessary for the City of Appleton and this area,” Alderman Polly Dalton said. “And that’s not to say I don’t want our police force and our law enforcement to be safe. I think there are other ways of achieving safety.”
The resolution, written by Dalton and Alderman Gypsy Vered Meltzer, includes a review of maintenance, insurance and training costs. It also suggests the $700,000 federal government-owned MRAP be returned or destroyed.
“There’s not weapons on this vehicle. It doesn’t even have shooting slots on it where we could shoot out the sides,” Lewis said. “This is a vehicle to protect the occupants.”
Appleton’s safety and licensing panel voted 4-1 Thursday to approve a shorter version of the resolution. The city council will meet Oct. 1 to discuss the proposal.
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