MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - Marshall, Texas, police showed off the newest addition to their fleet Thursday morning.
The fully armored Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected all-terrain vehicle is called an MRAP vehicle for short.
It's designed for rescues during natural disasters such as flooding but also can be used in active-shooter or SWAT situations.
As for his city, Police Chief Jesus "Eddie" Campa said, the acronym stands for Marshall Rescue and Protection vehicle.
"This rescue vehicle will be able to reach places we have not been able to in the past due to rising water or trees blocking the roadway. I am happy we have acquired this vehicle, at no cost, and will be able to further protect our citizens."
Officers who took it out for its maiden drive Thursday found it easier to drive than they thought.
"Truthfully, it's fun," Lt. William Huffman said. "You've got to keep your mind in it and think ahead of the vehicle because it's so large and keep your eyes open for other traffic."
Marshall police obtained the $800,000 MRAP plus a black Humvee for free through the 1033 excess property program overseen by the Defense Department's Law Enforcement Support Office. That program allows the Defense Department to transfer excess property to local law enforcement agencies with special emphasis given to counter drugs and terrorism.
"It's an $800,000 piece of equipment which, through the military surplus program, costs the city of Marshall zero dollars," the police chief said.
The MRAP, which is built to withstand the blast from an improvised explosive device, can drive through water almost 4 feet deep.
That's something Campa said his department needs after plenty of flooding in recent years.
"The Marshall Police Department lost 4 vehicles while conducting rescue operations within the city. That's a heavy burden to put on a city budget."
The police chief it cost Marshall more than $180,000 to replace those units.
The MRAP also serves another purpose.
Should an active shooter situation arise, Campa said, it's equipped with a stretcher and first aid kits and can safely carry a SWAT team and medical personnel.
"One of the things we hope is we don't have to use it. We like to have it in case we need it, but I would really prefer that we never have to use it."