Campus Police acquire an MRAP

Saddleback College’s campus police department acquired a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP) from the Department of Defense (DOD) this past April.

Campus police utilized Excess Property Program 1033, managed by the Defense Logistics Agency, which provides DOD equipment to law enforcement agencies at a low cost. These agencies, who are only responsible for paying shipping and handling, can order office and medical supplies, weaponry, vehicles, and spare parts for their equipment.

U.S. Soldiers assigned to Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, head out for a mission aboard Caiman mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles and an M1117 Guardian armored security vehicle, background, at Camp Adder, Iraq, Oct. 31, 2009. (Photograph/Anita VanderMolen, U.S. Army [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Civilian versions of armored vehicles, like the Lenco BearCat, can cost upwards of $350,000. “If grant funding is not available, the 1033 Program allows departments to acquire an armored vehicle,” said Lieutenant Joe Balicki of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau, Homeland Security Division.

Saddleback’s police department paid $5,000 dollars in shipping and handling for the MRAP, received drivers’ and maintenance training at no cost, and is able to stock the vehicle full of free medical supplies.

Campus police can also lend the MRAP to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff’s department provides training and advisement to Saddleback’s police force, in exchange for access to the MRAP in the event of a South Orange County disaster or active shooter event.

“North County SWAT hosted BAE [British Aerospace defense company] Systems instructors to provide operation and maintenance courses,” Balicki said. “If there’s a situation that requires SWAT to use an armored vehicle, having access to this MRAP staged farther south, cuts our response time in half.”

Officers are required to gain a Class B License to operate the vehicle.

MRAP vehicles were developed and produced for the United States military to protect solders in combat environments against improvised explosive devices (IED) and small arms fire. This MRAP has not been outfitted for any type of duty other than transport.

In a situation with an armed gunman, this diagram illustrates positioning of an MRAP.

“It will be utilized as a rescue vehicle,” Balicki said. “It allows us to take fire and EMS [Emergency Medical Services] into the ‘Hot Zone’.”

In the event of an active shooter there are three zones: hot, warm, and cold.

A Hot Zone is “an area where there is a known hazard or direct and immediate life threat,” according to the National Fire Protection Agency, “(i.e. any uncontrolled area where an ‘active shooter’ could directly engage a team).” Teams would not be deployed into a Hot Zone.

A Warm Zone is “an area of indirect threat (i.e. an area where a police agency has either cleared or isolated the threat to a level of minimal or mitigated risk). This area can be considered clear but not secure. The appropriate teams would deploy in this area with security to treat victims.”

As of publication, Saddleback College’s Police Chief Christopher Wilkinson, was unavailable for comment.