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Ulster sheriff says he will not give up MRAP; other counties also have military equipment

Jun 10, 2020 6:23 am
Paul Kirby and Diane Pineiro-Zucker are reporting for the Daily Freeman Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa June 9, rejected county Executive Pat Ryan's request that an armored vehicle, that used to belong to the U.S. Army, be removed from the Sheriff's Office fleet. Figueroa, in a statement emailed to the news media and posted on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page, said the Mine Resistant Ambush Protective, or MRAP, vehicle is an important asset to his team in many ways. Figueroa said the MRAP is a defensive vehicle that has no weapons and it is intended for use "removing children in the event of a school shooting ... respond[ing] to a bomb threat to safely transport bomb technicians closer to the crisis location ... for swift-water rescue during floods," and for responding to spills of toxic or other dangerous fluids. The sheriff also argued the county saved taxpayer money when it obtained the MRAP when the federal government disbursed surplus U.S. Army supplies. Figueroa also questioned the timing of Ryan's directive. Ryan, a former U.S. Army captain, first issued the call for the vehicle's removal in an op-ed published this week in the Albany Times Union. On June 8, he told a Freeman reporter: “I do not believe these vehicles belong in Ulster County or anywhere else in the country.” Ryan said if Figueroa fails to take the vehicle out of commission, he will find another way to do so. The Marshall Project keeps tracks of what military-grade equipment local governments receive from the Department of Defense. Ulster County has a lot of other equipment from the military. The Ulster County Sheriff has received 266 items, from helmets and flame-retardant vests, to all sorts of communication equipment. The Greene County Sheriff has received seven 5.56 millimeter rifles from the Department of Defense, valued at $5,243. The Albany County Sheriff has a mine-resitant vehicle, a truck, and 10 5.56 millimeter rifles and seven 7.62 millimeter rifles. Both the City of Albany and the Rensselaer County Sheriff have received one truck valued at $56,762. The Delaware County Sheriff has two military trucks and two 7.62 millimeter rifles. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.