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Portage County Sheriff's Department replacing armored vehicle with free program


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- An area sheriff’s department is getting an armored vehicle upgrade. Portage County Chief Deputy Daniel Kontos says they were one of five Wisconsin agencies to receive a federal surplus Caiman MTV, or multi-theater vehicle.

Contos says the heavy-duty multi-wheeled armored truck can be used in a couple of emergency situations.  “Two ways. One, if we need to go in and rescue people during a natural disaster. It also allows us to go over rubble that might be on the roadway like fallen trees and down power lines and that kind of thing, so it will allow us to be able to get to them. The second one is what we currently use our armored vehicle for, and that is to support tactical operations.”

The Caiman MTV will replace an older and less capable Cadillac Gage Peacekeeper armored vehicle built back around 1980 that they acquired from the Air Force.  “Being a newer vehicle, one that’s more reliable for us, it certainly will last us long into the future.”

The sheriff’s department applied for the vehicle through a special military surplus program.  “The vehicle comes to us from the Department of Defense on a program that allows them to, rather than scrap these vehicles, which was the original plan, to actually turn them over to law enforcement. It doesn’t cost us any money except a little bit to get it shipped up here from Texas.”

Kontos says taxpayers won’t have to pay the $5,000 shipping cost, because it is covered thanks to a 2013 Portage County drug case. He says the court ordered the drug dealer’s money forfeited to the county, and those dollars will pay for transportation.

The Caiman MTV is expected to arrive in Stevens Point in a couple of weeks.