coin200The Benton Police Department recently received a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP), or Armored Rescue Vehicle (ARV), vehicle through the U.S. Military 1033 Program. The 1033 Program allows law enforcement to pay a small annual cost to be able to receive access to excess military equipment at no further charge to the agency.  The cost associated with this program for the Benton Police Department is paid for using drug seizure money.   
The primary function of the ARV will be to use it as a rescue vehicle. It will be utilized by the department’s SWAT team during high risk situations and will also be available to all personnel during natural disaster incidents. 
The ARV gives officers a level of protection previously unavailable by providing full armor to enhance the safety of members as they are delivered directly to the scene of volatile situations involving potentially armed suspects.  It will also allow for the safe delivery of medical personnel into dangerous situations to treat victims and allow for the evacuation of citizens from a scene in the event of an active killer or hostage incident.  During 2015, it will be incorporated into active killer scenerio training at local schools and businesses.  
The vehicle can also travel through over four feet of moving water which will be beneficial during a flooding type scenario, which have occurred numerous times in Benton’s past.  It is also all-wheel drive which will be important when using it during inclement weather or in areas not accessible to regular police vehicles.  
The ARV will be available to use not only in Benton, but during mutual aid type situations involving circumstances with armed suspects or natural disasters anywhere in Saline County if the need arises.  
The original cost of this particular ARV was $733,000, but it didn’t cost anything for the department to acquire outside of the annual fee and shipping.  All military related hardware originally installed on the vehicle has been removed prior to delivery.  The costs associated with outfitting it with emergency lights and police department identification will be paid for using drug seizure money.  
The engine and drivetrain components are all commercial off the shelf versions of what are commonly used in long haul trucks, which will keep maintenance costs lower than specialized parts.  All officers will undergo an extensive training program on the proper usage and maintenance of the ARV prior to its use.