Chickasaw, Alabama is home to roughly 5500 people, and as of a few weeks ago, a 24-ton military-issue fighting vehicle.
Not to be outdone by Ohio State
, and presumably dissatisfied with the tactical abilities of their two Humvees (one in police paint, the other up-armored) and SWAT van, they acquired a half-million dollar diesel-powered behemoth, known to the US military as the MRAP.
The Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, is designed to protect its occupants from multi-hundred pound roadside bombs of the variety used against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is no doubt that the MRAP can withstand any threat presented by Chickasaw's tiny criminal underbelly. Chicksaw averages between zero and one murders per year, and in 2011, fell victim to a staggering six robberies.
Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Chickasaw, and untold other cities gleefully snapping up military surplus gear, the maintenance of the half-million dollar monster parked in front of the police station could cost many tens of thousands of dollars per year. To wit, a Dodge Charger squad car will cost $10,000 per year to keep in fuel, oil and tires. If the Chickasaw PD chooses not to maintain the vehicle, then it will deteriorate quickly and become truly useless.
As a method of law enforcement, the MRAP may be worse than useless. As opposed to an ugly hat, or a new baton color, the MRAP, if ever employed, will actually damage law enforcement efforts.
Foremost, using a tank on civilians is really bad press. One can imagine the helicopter footage of that massive sand-colored elephant of an MRAP pulling up on high-top sneaker-wearing soccer moms' PTA protests: iconic, tyrranical, Tiananmen.
At a comical 3 miles per gallon, the cost to fuel the MRAP is exorbitant, robbing other more essential police functions of funds.
Furthermore, the roaring noise of the massive Caterpillar diesel engine, and laughable top speed of 65 miles per hour means everyone has the drop on ol' MRAP, and any car built after 1950 can disappear into the distance while MRAP chugs along uselessly in all of its inane abundance.
At over 25 feet long, the MRAP has the turning radius of a derelict coal barge, and probably couldn't execute a U-turn over four lanes of traffic. If big, bad MRAP is ever employed to chase a bicyclist or even someone on foot, changing direction would foil MRAP's best efforts.
Even quelling a full-scale riot wouldn't likely be made easier by an MRAP: the rubber-tired monster truck with exposed fuel tanks is vulnerable to any would-be arsonist, and its impossibly poor visibility makes a narrow city street all the more hazardous. Despite its muscular appearance, the MRAP doesn't actually have any weapons. It is, in all its lavish massiveness, a big metal box on wheels unsuited for practically every application.
The MRAP is specialized for resistance to roadside bombs, and essentially every other function you might expect from a real vehicle has been sacrificed to gain this remarkable ability that was only valuable in the narrow circumstances it was designed for. It is so otherwise useless, in fact, that the US military is giving lightly-used, and even brand-new models away for nothing. This should be an indication to any would-be owner that this massive new cost liability is the equivalent of a fantasy sword collection.