Page County Plans to Use MRAP for Rescue Missions

The Harrisonburg Police Department isn

Page County Sheriff John Thomas showing the inside of the county's MRAP..

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PAGE COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- The Harrisonburg Police Department isn't the only law enforcement agency in the Valley to receive a MRAP.

"The MRAP is a heavily armored truck, and that's basically all it is. It's a big truck that's got a lot of armor on it," explained Page County Sheriff John Thomas.

MRAP stands for mine resistant armored personnel carrier.

Thomas said he wants to be prepared for anything. He remembers a situation in Buchanan County where the MRAP would have been good to have.

"He had watched two of his deputies bleed out because he could not get to them on the side of a mountain cause he didn't have a bullet-proof vehicle," said Thomas.

Thomas said he wants to be able to protect his deputies, "I've been shot, I've had deputies shot at in the last two years, and when we go to these things to recover people that we know have weapons, we need something that will stop bullets."

Now the MRAP can help save lives. The vehicle will be kept in storage until more personnel are trained to operate it.

In that time, they plan to paint it a different color, and outfit the inside for rescue operations.

Page County received the vehicle free of charge from the Department of Defense.

"I recognize that it is more vehicle than I would prefer to have, but I cannot afford to go out and buy a commercially-made BearCat, which is what you normally see on TV," said Thomas.

One Page County resident sees no problems with the sheriff's office having a MRAP, "A lot of people ain't been in bad binds, but if you get in a bad one, you might wish you had it," said Jimmy Comer, who lives in the county.

The vehicle will be used for rescues, whether that be in bomb threats or a natural disasters.

Since the MRAP is enclosed, it can do what their current open bed truck can't and transport multiple injured people over rough terrain.

"It is a huge burden off of my mind that I'm not going to have to be like the sheriff in Buchanan county and watch these things happen," said Thomas.

Sheriff Thomas said the vehicle will be solely for defensive purposes and will share it with other departments to use.


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