CONCORD, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- A picture of an armored vehicle is causing outrage online. It’s of Concord Police Department’s mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle. The negative comments go on and on. Some call it a “waste of money,” “unnecessary” and “say it with me – budget cut!”
Those FOX 46 spoke to in person felt differently.
“I say if the police think they need it, they need it,” said one Concord resident.
“If it’s safety for one person, it’s worth it,” said another.
The big question people had, however, was “who paid for it?”
“A lot of times, these response vehicles, they come to the police because the military gives them to the police and so it’s not really part of the budget,” said Jason Huddle.
Concord Police acquired the vehicle 4-5 years ago through the 1033 program. It’s when the Department of Defense gives away excess equipment to local law enforcement agencies. All they have to do is pay for shipping and handling.
Concord Police Chief, Gary Gacek, can’t figure out why all of a sudden there’s a social media frenzy, but he told FOX 46 they requested the vehicle in the event of an active shooter scenario, SWAT situation or high water rescue, like when a pregnant Duplin County woman in labor had to be rescued during hurricane Florence.
“Made it through the water area, and it was just below the air intake on the hood of the MRAP,” said Ben Parish with the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office.
On Instagram, some questioned whether or not Concord Police need something this powerful, but not everyone shares that same sentiment.
“This might be something that’s well used in the future,” said Carolyn McKinney, “and you do have to prepare for the future.”
The so-called ‘hand-me-down’ actually saves the department $500,000. For a list of what other North Carolina law enforcement agencies acquired through the 1033 program, click here.