JCSD purchases military vehicle with drug seized money

JONES COUNTY, MS. - The Jones County Sheriff's Department (JCSD) purchased two military vehicles with drug seized money for $15,000. According to an invoice the vehicles are worth $850,000 combined.

Sheriff Alex Hodge says the M-RAP, (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) 35,000 pound all-wheel-drive and Humvee are used to protect the community and deputies.

“We were able to save a ton of money" says JCSD Grant Administrator Lance Chancellor. The department purchased both vehicles through the state's defense logistics agency.

According to Chancellor the defense logistics agency works with the Mississippi Office of Surplus Property. Chancellor says the office works with the agency to help state law enforcement with low cost supplies.

The Humvee was priced at $192,513, but JCSD purchased it for $5,000. The vehicle was purchased from a military base in Georgia with only 767 miles.

The M-RAP was priced at $658,000, but JCSD purchased it for $10,000. It had 26,376 miles on it and had new ballistic windows and tires put on it after serving overseas.

JCSD had to show a need for the equipment. Chancellor says the vehicles can help the SWAT and Narcotics team, "It helps them with the ability to enter a hostile situation and take on gun fire."

He adds, "Which unfortunately is becoming all more and more common in law enforcement having over 28 officers killed across the United States so far this year by gun fire.”

Since its arrival last year and in February JCSD used it on a child hostage situation in the Sharon community.

“We have utilized it on several different times, when we had to breach doors, we had to use the equipment instead of sending bodies in" says Sheriff Hodge. The vehicles can be used during natural disasters too.

Sheriff Hodge says, “As Rankin county demonstrated recently, they were able to use their M-RAP during a flood to rescue people.”

According to Sheriff Hodge the department cannot put a price on safety. He says if the department had these vehicles in 2012 when their deputy Tony Stiles was shot and injured it could have faced a different situation.

He says, "Had we have the equipment now that we have today, we would have sent machine in instead of man. We know Tony is a machine, but he is a human being."

Sheriff continues, "I hope I do not have to put another human being again in that situation in saving someone's life."

“It is not something we patrol the streets in, but if its needed we have it." Sheriff says, "We can deploy rapidly, and we can go into basically any type of situation that we find ourselves in."

JCSD has a total of 3 military vehicles on site.

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