MUNSTER | Should the town ever encounter a dangerous armed conflict or hostage situation, police officers will be able to bring out the heavy artillery in the form of a new bullet- and bomb-proof military vehicle.
The Munster Town Council recommended the Board of Public Safety formally accept donation of six-wheel-drive armored truck, courtesy of the U.S. Army.
Munster will share the vehicle with St. John, as the two police departments form a joint SWAT unit. It will also be made available to the Indiana District 1 SWAT team.
Munster Police Chief Steve Scheckel said it made sense to accept a free military surplus vehicle that can help protect officers in the event of an potentially deadly incident, as rare as they may be in Munster.
Although there is the cost of transport from a military base in Texas to consider, as well as the general upkeep, Scheckel said those costs will be covered by a drug search and seizure fund that currently has a balance of approximately $50,000.
No tax dollars will be used to support the vehicle’s operation.
He noted the Merrillville Police Department has a similar armored vehicle.
The U.S. Army is sending personnel to train police officers on use of the vehicle and is also throwing in an extra set of tires. New, the vehicle retails for around $225,000.
“This is something that could be put to good use for the community in case something goes haywire,” said Town Council President John Reed, R-1st. “Now we’ve got some hardcore military equipment in our pocket.”
Scheckel said the vehicle comes minus machine guns, as it will be used as more of a transport vehicle and tactical shield for SWAT officers.
The vehicle, which can repel impact of armor-piercing rounds and improvised explosive devices, is expected to be delivered by mid-June.