Sheriff’s office buys armored vehicle with drug money

YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office has a new vehicle in its fleet, and it used to belong to the military.

Sheriff Danny Diggs said his office acquired a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle last month. A sticker on the vehicle listed it valued at $733,000, but Diggs believes its barebones cost was about $400,000.

Diggs said taxpayer money was not used to get the vehicle, and the money used to ship it from Texas to York County was seized from drug dealers. They got the vehicle from a military program that repurposes equipment.

“We would have preferred the one that was a little smaller, but we took what was available,” Diggs said.

Diggs mentioned criticism of law enforcement agencies getting MRAPs and said you have to plan ahead. If you need one, you can’t just go out and get it.

“Then there are those who are concerned about the ‘militarization’ of local law enforcement,” Diggs added. “We already have guns and the authority to take a person’s life under very limited circumstances. A MRAP is just another tool. If the public is afraid that the MRAP will be wrongfully used, then they have a bigger problem with the trust level of their local law enforcement than the issue of having a MRAP.”

Diggs said the office plans to use the MRAP as a rescue and recovery vehicle and to remove trees from roads during storms.

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