A weekend standoff marked the first time Texarkana, Texas, police employed an armored vehicle given to the department years ago by the U.S. government. (Source: Fred Gamble/KSLA News 12)
TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) -
Texarkana, Texas, police brought in heavy equipment last weekend during a standoff involving an armed man in a house.
"The armored vehicle gave us the ability to get closer to the actual house," said Sgt. Mike Jones, the Police Department's SWAT team commander. "It protects our officers against armed suspects in those situations."
The department was given the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protective (MRAP) vehicle about 3 years ago through a U.S. military surplus program.
The recent standoff was the first time officers put the vehicle into action, not to harm but to protect.
"The armored vehicle is used primarily in a defensive role," Jones said. "So we could move officers closer to a danger area, or we could use it to extract officers or other citizens from a danger area."
Texarkana police say the armored vehicle was needed during the standoff after officers heard at least 2 gunshots coming from inside the house. The man later was found dead in the home. No officer was injured.
It's not been too many years since municipal police departments drew citizens' ire for employing such armament.
In August 2014, police came under fire for using surplus military equipment during protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the police-involved shooting death of a teenager.
Jones said Texarkana's use of its military vehicle proved beneficial. "We are glad to have them because they are a tool to help us protect the citizens and not put officers in unnecessary risk."