How does a police department lose a Humvee?
One freezing day last December in the tiny town of Palestine, Ark., a young man climbed into the police department’s Humvee, turned it on, and drove off on a joy ride.Okay, can someone explain something to me? How in blue bloody blazes does a town of 700 people get their hands on a Humvee? It's bad enough that they had one, but that it was stolen and vanished for a week before anyone noticed it was gone? Really?
“It never crossed my mind” that anyone would do that, Palestine Police Chief Stanley Barnes said Wednesday of the incident. The Humvee, which the town of fewer than 700 people got for free through a controversial Pentagon program that gives old military equipment to local police departments, doesn’t have keys. But it’s easy to look up how to start one.
The town I lived in in MA had a population of several thousand people when I was growing up. We had four full time officers, a couple auxiliary guys, and two squad cars, three if you counted the chief's unmarked. We managed to get by just fine with those three vehicles. You're telling me a town with nearly an order of magnitude fewer people needs a military grade vehicle? Really?
And while they might have gotten the Humvee from a military program designed to hand off older equipment to police forces, here's a few questions: How much does it cost to insure and maintain a Humvee? Wouldn't these vehicles be better off being sold to the general public and actually bring money in? I would imagine the cool factor would be sky-high for a genuine seen-the-elephant military vehicle.
Here's the best part of the whole story, though:
The police department now uses the massive wreck for parts for its other Humvee, which it also obtained from the Department of Defense Excess Property Program (DOD 1033) to help fight crime in the small town.Got that? A town of 700 people has not one but two Humvees. They have as many Humvees as my town of 4-5K had police cars. With gas at anywhere from $3.50 to $4 a gallon, this town can afford to keep two separate Humvees running - until one got stolen and wrecked, that is. Notice, too, that there's no mention of them actually catching the person responsible. I'm really glad such a crack team of law enforcement professionals warrants two military vehicles to keep their town safe when they can't even keep track of a Humvee.
Notice, too, that "weapons of war" appear to have a place on our city streets, as long as they're commanded by the "right" people.
That is all.