Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Q. I see that Mount Pleasant SWAT now has an MRAP. I was just wondering if you could find out more about it. Like, why in the world they need it? - Byl Alfred, Mount Pleasant
A. “The Mount Pleasant Police Department received a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle through a state program at no cost to the department. The truck will withstand any round from a domestically owned rifle or handgun and has the ability to carry 12 officers inside. With the slowing of military actions overseas, the government decided that it would be better to provide these vehicles to law enforcement rather than scrap them. This MRAP has an estimated value of $733,000 and is the Town of Mount Pleasant's only high-water capable vehicle that can serve as a rescue unit during major storms. Our SWAT team utilizes this vehicle as an added layer of protection during callouts where the armor will help prevent serious injury or death. For instance, this vehicle can be used in barricaded situations, active shooter calls or if someone claims to have an explosive device like we had on the Ravenel Bridge in 2012. Prior to this acquisition, the police department had no armored vehicle that could respond to critical incidents. The average cost of an armored van to hold SWAT team members is around $210,000, so this donated vehicle saves the taxpayers' money as well. The ability to save money combined with the ability to protect the lives of citizens and officers makes this acquisition an all around win.
The Mount Pleasant Police Department has letters of understanding with local agencies that would allow them to use the MRAP if a dangerous situation occurred where they needed extra protection for the officers responding. In addition, Chief Ritchie has also authorized the MRAP to be used as a Regional Response Vehicle to any agency that may need this added protection.” – Inspector Chip Googe, Mount Pleasant Police Department spokesman.
Size comparison between MRAP and other vehicles manufactured for police use:
• LENCO BEARCAT
Length – 20 feet
Width – 10 feet
Height – 8-12 feet (12 with turret)
Crew – 2 plus 10 passengers
• LENCO BEAR
Length – 25.6 feet
Width – 8.5 feet
Height – 10.9 feet
Crew – 2 plus 12 passengers
• CAIMAN MRAP
Length – 25.3 feet
Width – 8.5 feet
Height – 10 feet
Crew – 2 plus 9 passengers
Q. My neighbor took a picture of one of these four-bladed drones flying over the beach at Isle of Palms. They were speculating the Isle of Palms police were looking for people drinking. Any reports about drones over Isle of Palms and whether they are official or not? – Bill McIntosh, Mount Pleasant
A. “The Isle of Palms Police Department is not using drones. What was likely spotted were drones being used by amateur photographers. In fact, I believe an amateur photographer posted a video on YouTube of photos taken.” – Linda Tucker, Isle of Palms City Administrator
Q. What about a speed limit sign on the connector going from Seaside to Isle of Palms? Surely one could have been afforded. – Elizabeth and George Vary, Mount Pleasant
A. “The project has not been closed out yet. We still have one mast arm signal to install and punch list items to complete. We will ensure that all signs are installed ...” – Richard L. Turner, P.E., Charleston County Transportation Development.