Federal authorities reclaim Texas sheriff's armored vehicles
By BRANDON MULDER | Midland Reporter-Telegram, Texas | Published: November 19, 2015
MIDLAND, Texas (Tribune News Service) — Federal authorities on Tuesday took two longtime possessions of the Midland County Sheriff's Office’s: “Bubba” and “Patsy,” two of the department’s three military-style armored vehicles.
Earlier this year President Obama issued an executive order that reversed the federal 1033 program, which allocated surplus military gear to local law enforcement agencies. The MCSO had been in possession of the two armored personnel carriers since the program’s inception in 1997.
On Tuesday the two 13-ton vehicles were loaded up and hauled away.
“I couldn’t go out there; I had to stay away. I’d have thrown a fit,” Sheriff Gary Painter said.
He has been vociferously critical of the administration’s recall, which was ordered after tensions between protesters and police became strained in cities such as Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore.
“I was extremely upset that the president of the United States would take away a tool that has proven highly useful to law enforcement to protect our employees,” Painter said. “Now he has exposed them to the dangers of driving up to a subject holed up in a house or something, firing weapons.”
The list of prohibited equipment includes tracked armored vehicles, high- caliber weapons, bayonets and grenade launchers.
One armored vehicle remains in the sheriff’s office’s possession: a rubber-tired mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP. But tracked vehicles such as the APCs have certain advantages, like being able to deliver police closer to the scene of the crime.
“We’re very comfortable using the MRAP, except it has rubber tires, and I prefer one that has a track,” he said.
Named after two late Midland deputies, the APCs are called upon once or twice a year on average, according to a previous Reporter-Telegram report. One of the more notable instances was in a 22-hour standoff in West Odessa against a heavily armed subject, Victor White.
White surrendered soon after he encountered the APC.
“We managed to get right up on top of him with that thing, and he gave up when he saw it,” Painter said in a previous article.
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