Saginaw County gives up military vehicle - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw County gives up military vehicle

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

A giant military vehicle acquired by a local sheriff's department has been decommissioned before it was ever used.

The news comes just days after the vehicle was mocked on HBO.

The county sheriff said that criticism had nothing to do with the decision to get rid of the vehicle.

The giant vehicle looks like something out of a Batman movie. It's a Mine-Resistant Ambush Proof vehicle, or MRAP for short. For about eight months it belonged to the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department, given to Sheriff William Federspiel by the U.S. Army. Now he's had the department stickers peeled off and it's locked up. He doesn't want it any more.

"Although the parts for it were free, the installation of those parts, and the maintaining of it by a certified mechanic cost us money," Federspiel said.

He said he was going to use money from drug forfeiture funds to pay for that maintenance, but then state officials threw a wrench in that plan.

"That money per state law can now be swept into general funds by the controller," Federspiel said.

He said he never intended to use the vehicle for criminal operations, instead he wanted to use it for rescue operations, for example, using it to pull vehicles out of ditches or snowbanks. 

Federspiel said it also didn't make sense to keep a vehicle that was rarely used.

"We've got 46 slots available for insurance for fleet vehicles and that MRAP was counting as one of the 48," Federspiel said.

The sheriff said the budget decision to get rid of the MRAP was made weeks ago, long before his MRAP was lampooned by HBO.

"It doesn't bother me, it's entertainment. That kind of show, that's entertainment, that's not real news, just as long as the people of Saginaw County know what we're doing," Federspiel said.

The sheriff said if he needs an MRAP type vehicle in the future the state police assure him they will provide one.

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