Sheriff will get Humvees

October 2, 2018

Mohave County is the fifth-largest county in the United States, comprising more than 13,000 square miles. In such a large jurisdiction, however, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office maintains only a single armored personnel carrier for its tactical operations.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors on Monday authorized a request by Sheriff Doug Schuster to acquire five military surplus armored Humvees. The vehicles would provide deputies with a much-needed tactical edge in responding to events such as active shooter scenarios, suspects who are armed and barricaded; and rescue operations throughout the county.

The Humvees will be acquired through the Law Enforcement Support Office program, through which excess U.S. Department of Defense assets are provided to law enforcement agencies upon request, at little or no cost. According to Schuster’s request, initial costs for the vehicles’ delivery will be no higher than $2,500, and the vehicles will cost about $2,500 to maintain.

The Humvees would be stationed in each of Mohave County’s five districts, providing the capacity for their rapid deployment when needed. According to Schuster, the Sheriff’s tactical operations unit responds to about 20 calls per year. The new Humvees would be used during most future calls.

According to Undersheriff Edward Trafecanty, who spoke at the meeting, the acquisition of armored vehicles does not represent a militarization of law enforcement, but a modernization. The Law Enforcement Support Office Program provides necessary equipment to agencies at low cost with a significant savings to taxpayers, Trafecanty said. The alternative to acquiring five Humvees through the program would be the acquisition of civilian models, which would cost an estimated $200,000 or more.

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