Coventry Police have a new vehicle that should make short work of any kind of weather New England cares to throw our way.
It’s a military surplus Humvee or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).
And the town got it for free.
Town officials say they have been trying to get one for a while.
“It will be a nice supplemental vehicle,” said Coventry Town Manager John Elsesser.
Coventry took advantage of Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997, which authorizes the Department of Defense to transfer excess military property to state and local law enforcement agencies.
Government agencies whose primary function is the enforcement of federal, state and local laws, and whose compensated full-time law enforcement officers have powers of arrest and apprehension are eligible to receive this property.
The vehicle, which Coventry Police Chief Mark Palmer said won’t be used often, came from a military base in Pennsylvania.
Chief Palmer said the vehicle has a little more than 17,000 miles on it and appears to be ready to put on the road as is.
When the town saw a couple feet of snow in the winter of 2010, Chief Palmer recalled that there were a number of times police cruisers couldn’t get through the town’s roadways and driveways.
The department’s 4-wheel drive Ford Expedition also had “severe difficulties,” during that period of heavy snow, he said.
“We ended up having to borrow a heavy-duty truck from the fire department,” Chief Palmer said.
All Humvee’s have an automatic transmission and a 6.5-liter diesel engine.
The Humvee has been in production since 1985; it was designed to meet military requirements to replace many types of aged vehicles and keep up with swift moving tanks.
The Humvee was designed for durability, mobility and reliability.
With the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq winding down, Humvees are becoming more and more available, Chief Palmer said.
He noted the town needed approval from the state coordinator of the National Guard before picking it up.
“It’s a very utilitarian vehicle and it is great for off-road activities,” Chief Palmer said. “We might have to go out in the middle of a cornfield or wooded area. This can do anything and go anywhere.”
The Humvee is only 6-feet tall, 7-feet wide and is 15-feet long, which helps make it difficult to roll over.
Chief Palmer and Elsesser said they want to quell any residents’ concerns regarding the cost to the town. “We believe that it won’t cost us that much,” Elsesser said. The vehicle will not be used on a daily basis by the police department, he said.
Chief Palmer confirmed the Humvee will only be used for “extreme” weather and other unusual circumstances.
Plans are to give it a new coat of paint, so the Humvee is currently at the new public works facility, he said. It’s currently a sandy brown. Chief Palmer said he hopes to have the work donated to the department.
Coventry Police Sgt. Christopher Fiore said his hope for the Humvee is to have it done in time for the town’s 300th Anniversary Parade on Sept. 29, 2012
“That’s a nice timeline,” said Sgt. Fiore, a 15- year veteran with the department.
“This will be crucial to have for hurricane season,” he added.
Posted July 8, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan
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