A Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle was recently given to the San Diego Unified School District Police Department (SDUSD) via the U.S. Defense Department's 1033 program.
The school district says the armored 14-ton truck, which is similar to vehicles used by the U.S. military in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will only be used for rescues.
The militarization of local police departments has come under fire after U.S. military gear was used against protesters and the media by police in Ferguson, Mo., last month.
“We recognize the public concern over perceived ‘militarization of law enforcement,' but nothing could be further from the truth for School Police,” stated SDUSD Police Capt. Joseph Florentino, noted NBC San Diego.
Capt. Joseph Florentino claimed the MRAP will be a “Victim Rescue Vehicle” and will be used to help transport paramedics into “warm/hot zones” in school shootings and disasters.
The image above from the SDUSD shows what the MRAP will look like after the SDUSD paints it.
"It'll be designed for us to get into any hostile situation and pull kids out," added Capt. Florentino. "We can fit about a full elementary class into the back of vehicle."
However, the MRAP will also be available to other local law-enforcement agencies to use during civil disturbances and other situations, reports SanDiegoReader.com.
Chief Rueben Little John, of the San Diego Unified School District Police Department, told Fox 5 San Diego: “It’s not going to be used to destroy in any way. It’s for rescuing and searching for students.”