CIRCLEVILLE - Recent donations of products and services have prepared a large piece of equipment at the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office to go into service at no charge for local taxpayers.
In September of 2013, the sheriff's office took delivery of a new armored vehicle provided free of charge through the Law Enforcement Support Office of the Ohio Department of Safety.
With paint provided by PPG Industries, time and labor donated by Perfection One Auto Repair and scaffolding for the job provided by Dynahoe Equipment and Tool Rental, the MaxxPro MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle is now ready to be put into service.
"We truly appreciate the assistance and donations in helping the sheriff's office keep this vehicle no cost to the citizens of Pickaway County," said Sheriff Robert Radcliff. "Other agencies have spent $10,000 or more just in labor and materials to paint their MRAP vehicles, and these businesses provided all those services for free."
The only expense to obtain the vehicle, he said, was the time it took two deputies a year and a half ago to travel to Indiana and bring it home.
The MaxxPro is a fully-armored former military vehicle with 4-wheel capability that can provide a protective barrier not only for law enforcement officers but also victims in highly dangerous situations, Radcliff said.
The militarization of police forces has been a hot topic in national news lately, but Radcliff said there is a huge difference between "armed" and "armored."
"There is nothing offensive about this piece of equipment," he said. "There are no machine guns or cannons on it, and it would never be used that way. It's strictly a proactive, defensive piece of equipment to assist in dangerous situations that we're unfortunately seeing more and more of in the world today."
The MaxxPro can provide protective cover to transport officers into volatile situations like school shootings or hostage situations. It also can provide safe transport out of active situations for victims and bystanders who can be evacuated.
"This thing could have been abandoned in the middle of a desert somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan where it could fall into the wrong hands and be used for any number of purposes," Radcliff said. "Instead, it was brought back and put back to use for the purpose it was intended, which is protection."
Radcliff said he is thankful the MaxxPro has not yet been called into service, but he is also grateful to have it available and at the ready if such a need arises.
The vehicle also is available for mutual aid in adjoining counties and jurisdictions, he said.